October 14, 2010 Volume CXXVIII Issue 5

The Flaw in the Plan

By PERRY DIXON
Back Page Editor/Bad Egg/Debbie
Downer/ “That Guy”/ S.P.E.W. President

Lots and lots of beer and Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (on the rocks).

If there were any Blast-Ended Skrewts about I would release them in the quad as well as our greenhouse.

There, I have your attention. Fellow students, I know you have been waiting for this one.

At this point, it is appropriate to redirect our attention towards an issue that is age-old here at Georgetown. It is a policy with which a very large number of students take issue. First and foremost, it is necessary to state that this column is not intended to encourage the consumption of alcoholic beverages or impose an ideology one way or another on objecting individuals. Our alcohol policy is a relic of a bygone era and infringes upon the right of every legal individual to behave as any other free member of our society. The purpose of this column is to proclaim that it is time for mere freedom of choice to be allowed on this campus. Since it is too much to ask for a wiping away of our current policy and adherence, rather, to state law, it may be a bit more practical to request the nearly just as unfathomable: wet tailgate for our football games.

Presumably, those who willfully accept our alcohol policy operate under (but are not limited to) two assumptions. One is that drinking an alcoholic beverage (not in excess) is an immoral offense of the un-Christian variety. Second is that Georgetown College’s policymakers have somehow successfully improved upon state law. Well, friends, our main Man made wine, lots of it, and it was allegedly amazing (yes, Jesus). I do not really need to explicitly state what I think of some of our policymakers and their policies. If anyone would like to argue a moral point, I would say that consumption of a single beverage is no more despicable than the consumption of a candy bar or ice cream cone.

Let us first consider the goals of our lovely little college. Supposedly, it is the intention of this college to raise its standards to that of other private institutions across the country. Allegedly, we want to be the best of the best among our peers. That being said, it is time to stop comparing our alcohol policy or any other with the policies of the University of Kentucky. They are a publicly-funded university, (albeit with financial security dwarfing our own), and we are not. If we suppose that we are striving to acquire status equivalent with that of Centre, Harvard and Yale, it is with these schools that Georgetown should be compared in all respects.

Upon researching the alcohol policies of each of the aforementioned institutions, one may discover that each has what may be called a “sensible alcohol policy.” Each institution, with varying language, prescribes a policy by which students of legal age may consume alcoholic beverages both on campus and, with permission, at campus-wide events. Obviously, each of these institutions is superior to Georgetown College in academics. The difference between our academics and those of Harvard and Yale is obscene; we are not even close and we are not on an upward trajectory to get there.

But one may wonder why Harvard and Yale are relevant to the discussion. The answer is quite simple. Consumption of alcohol on campus is irrelevant to the academic success or prestige of an institution. It is an arbitrary decision that prevents students of age from consuming alcohol on a college campus. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that it is nonsensical for any current student to hope for a change in our policy. This is because our policies are determined by those who also control the college’s politics and financial stability (instability, who’s counting?). Our alcohol policy is the product of an out of date ideology that upholds that is immoral for anyone, regardless of age, to consume a drop of alcohol at any given time. A college can never hope to truly be equivalent with an institution such as Harvard when an ideology that keeps Georgetown stuck in the past permeates the entirety of college policy, including student life. Top students want to learn and they want to make their own decisions as well. Our academics are relatively excellent, but not so excellent that they overshadow our out-of-date policies with regards to things like alcohol and standing in a room with someone of the opposite sex.

Honesty is always appreciated. Todd Gambill rightly responded to a question of mine at the recent General Assembly (which nearly none of you attended) that to hope for a radical change in alcohol policy is too ambitious indeed. However, a viable compromise to our current situation would be the allowance of a wet tailgate for football games on East Campus. Americans drink beer at football games; it is a part of our culture and arguably in no way inherently more morally despicable than buying a candy bar. Students of age who pay well over $30,000 a year for school should be allowed to make responsible decisions at any point in time. For our sake, let us just imagine one football game with a reduced grip on our autonomy or free will. The fact is that with a wet tailgate, everyone would be satisfied. People who wish to imbibe may do so (those who do not choose to of course would not be forced drink). Game attendance would increase. Fans would enjoy themselves (more—a lot more). The college could make some money, for once. Football players, unfortunately, get screwed (that is the only setback, gentleman, we’ll see how this one goes for future hopes; if change comes about: drinks on me).

The issue here is that at a school where quality of character is supposed to be developed in each and every student, there are rules in place that prevent this very intention. A person of character is able to make decisions leading to a line that stops far before the realm of excess. As paying adults of an academic community we are justfied in expecting to be able to make decisions for ourselves. We do not want our decisions made for us by a collective of individuals who have no real connection with the day-to-day lives of the student body.

It is also important to note there is no real distinction between “conservative” or “liberal” to be found here. Members of each party, and every degree in between, can agree that individuals should be allowed mere freedom of choice. Quality of character is judged by actions over which individuals have personal control. Our current alcohol policy does not even allow this otherwise general principle of being a member of society. I am sick of good people being punished and pressured for holding a bottle. If I am going to be eternally condemned just for drinking beer, there are going to be a lot of people there with me. I’ll see you all there.

I am Harry Potter.

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