Alcohol: now's the time to act
On Monday, September 6, the last students returned to Colby from summer vacation. Over the course of the next six days, the campus would be stricken with ten separate alcohol-related incidents, eight of which resulted in hospitalization of the involved student. These incidents all occurred in the three-day period from Thursday, September 9, to Saturday, September 11. Assuming the rate remains constant, there will be 680 instances of alcohol-related hospitalization during the coming academic year.
If I may, I will cite Colby's Resident Alcohol Statistician (RAS), James S. Terhune: "Last year, 69 Colby students were admitted to the emergency room and treated for alcohol poisoning. Since 2004-05, the number is 298. Every one of those 298 cases involved abusive consumption of hard alcohol." From this, we can reasonably conclude two things. First, the number of alcohol-related hospitalizations is going to jump an astonishing 985 percent this year. Secondly, the root cause of these hospitalizations is hard alcohol.
The preceding facts should make it apparent that bold, decisive action is required. In previous years, students were trusted to deal with such issues and show some minimal level of personal responsibility. Clearly, we have failed. The administration assumed that a group of nearly 2,000 young adults-almost all old enough to vote, own property, and sign contracts-could deal with alcohol in a responsible manner. Instead, we have embarrassed them. We have shown ourselves to be animals of impulse, consuming alcohol in vast quantities with no thought as to how it affects our bodies and minds.
But as with most problems, the blame cannot be placed fairly on one party. The administration must do its part to solve the problem. Consider: it would be unethical and unthinkable for the government to permit violently insane criminals to purchase firearms. We expect, in a civilized society, a certain minimum of regulation to protect the citizens from themselves. It is the same with the administration.
Now that we have proven ourselves incapable of making responsible decisions, it is the duty of the administration to produce a solution. Students, simply put, cannot be trusted with alcohol. The administration must act. Now is the time for our school's leaders to shed their "live and let live," "devil-may-care" attitude. Now is the time to pass regulations to protect students from their own innate impulsiveness. We cannot afford to waste another second "educating" the students. The student body has proven time and time again that it does not want to be educated. The students do not want to participate in a constructive dialogue; they want to shriek about wildly and throw handfuls of their own feces at each other.
I believe I have a solution for the administration. I do not want to seem sensational, but I am of the opinion that the only way to protect the student body is a complete ban of hard alcohol. I realize the administration may not want to go so far. I realize that such a ban could be considered Draconian. Hard to enforce. An overreach of administration powers. An infringement of the rights of students of legal drinking age. And certainly, in a simpler time, these objections may have had merit.
But this is a state of emergency. If alcohol-related hospitalizations continue to increase at the current rate, every student will go to the emergency room four times next year, and the year after that, everyone on campus will die. The only way to end this madness is a ban of hard alcohol. It's obvious that students don't respect themselves enough to stop abusing alcohol. But surely they will respect the wishes of the administration if it chooses to ban hard alcohol. If they don't, we may have some bigger problems than any alleged student irresponsibility.