Senior Tara Tolton currently interns at PennLive.com’s Opinion Desk.
The following article appeared October 11. Reprinted with permission.
By Tara Tolton
Students at Bucknell and Temple universities returned to campus this fall to find that beloved, decades-old campus traditions had been canceled because of concerns over student drinking.
Cutting down on alcohol use by students is an admirable goal. But canceling events that students enjoy fails to address larger issues surrounding student drinking.
“Some of these events give a lot of colleges attention, actually. I know [Lebanon Valley’s] Dutchman Day does.” W. Bryan Shoemaker, a junior at Lebanon Valley College, told PennLive in a recent interview. He says canceling these events could also cost colleges qualified applicants.
After watching the same alcohol-related offenses occur every year, Bucknell President John Bravman lost his patience and pulled the plug on the annual House Party Weekend, which is held every March as a pride-rousing party for fraternities and sororities.
At Temple University, officials canceled the Spring Fling for the same reason. The university’s Dean of Students, Stephanie Ives, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that the party was little more than an “opportunity for students to skip class and drink.”
Student interests are not best represented by those canceling the events because the decisions assume that every student is at fault.
“I have some friends that go to those events to have fun and drink, and some that go just to have fun without the alcohol. It just depends on who they are,” Shayla Marshal, a sophomore at Elizabethtown College, told PennLive.
Student alcohol abuse should be a top priority for university administrators and it should be taken seriously -- but on a case-by-case basis.
By canceling these events, the students are going to not only continue to drink, but are going to take it somewhere else, potentially causing more damage.
Underage drinking, crude behavior, and illegal activities as a result of alcohol being present are wrong. And university officials are right to be concerned about student safety. But they are offenses that should be handled individually.
Canceling popular campus events at Temple and Bucknell and other schools may reduce the incidence of student drinking, but they fail to address root causes of alcohol abuse among students.
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