Dry Campus: Is it Actually Safer?

Just in 2009 alone there has been 88,000 alcohol related deaths. 10,000 of these deaths have been caused by drinking and driving. 97,000 sexual assaults have occurred while under the influence. 696,000 injuries occurred in 2009 alone and the number has risen since then. (National Alcohol Awareness) Dangerous and unsafe activity happens when people are under the influence of alcohol. Drunk driving has been higher in the last years and has been a problem across college campuses as well.

drunk drivingThewatershed.com

“They were best friends, both 18, college freshmen, co-workers. Inseparable since kindergarten, Jessica Rasdall and Laura Gorman loved to go out, loved to dance, and loved to have fun. The good times might have lasted a lifetime, but for the tragedy that unfolded on a Florida highway early one February morning in 2006. It started with a trip to a club. There were drinks, and a walk to the car, with Rasdall taking the wheel. Less than an hour later, Gorman was dead. And her best friend would be charged with killing her.”(Goldberg, N/p)

To read the full story of Jessica and Laura click here: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=7726721&page=1

We often hear horrible stories just like this one all around college campuses. Terrifying stories off loss due to drunk driving has caused many campuses, like Christopher Newport University, to try and prevent it by creating a campus that doesn’t allow drinking. The official term that is used when referring to a campus like CNU is a dry campus. This means there is no alcohol in the dorms at all, not even for students who are old enough to legally drink. This policy of being a dry campus was in the best interest for the students, faculty, and the community that surrounds the campus. According to a Harvard study, students on a dry campus are less likely to drink compared to a wet campus, however, the ones that do decide to drink indulge just as much as a wet campus.

Many students, including myself, believe that a dry campus, in some cases, can actually be more dangerous than a wet campus. College students drink, it is a known fact that everyone needs to accept in order to protect students and the community around campuses. In fact, just in the last 60 days approximately 54 alcohol violations have been reported by the police on the campus of Christopher Newport University, and when the school only has about 5,000 students, that number seems a bit high.  Students support the safety, but the views of safety seem to differ with the administration. [Syncrisis] Universities get federal money if they are a dry campus, but by gaining money from the government they are giving up some of the safety of the students.When college students decide to drink they often have to go off campus since it isn’t allowed on campus. Since they have to go off campus, driving then becomes a factor that plays into the night of drinking. If someone decides not to drink and drive they have to either find a sober person, which can be hard to find at 2a.m., or take an Uber, and Uber isn’t the safest option. In fact, an Uber driver in San Francisco was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, “The Uber driver was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and battery with serious bodily injury.”(Kerr) I know that at CNU a large amount of students use this possibly dangerous method of transportation to get back to campus. Drinking and driving is irresponsible and reckless, but that only leaves them with the choice between it and Uber which is like deciding which poison is worse.

The full article on Uber: http://www.cnet.com/news/how-risky-is-your-uber-ride-maybe-more-than-you-think/

There is another option instead of drinking off campus, at frat parties, or in apartment far from campus and that is drinking in the residence halls. This option is often risky because if you are caught then you are sent to honor council to determine what your punishment will be. The punishments can range from simply writing a paper to expulsion from the university. If your room is searched and you are in the possession of alcohol then you are immediately written up. Drinking in the dorms seems to be a safer alternative to going out but the risks are still as high as going out to drink, just in a different way.

I propose that the school allow drinking in the upper classmen dorms so that students that are of legal age are allowed to drink on campus. This will allow for a safer place to drink and lower the amount of drunk driving around the campus. Students also won’t have to decide to drive or take an Uber to safely get back to their dorm while they are intoxicated. Overall the school will be safer because when students drink they can feel like they can ask for help without the risk of serious repercussions. I’m am not saying that we should be allowed to drink whenever and wherever, but that when students do drink they have a place that is safe on campus, rather than driving off campus and risking many lives.[correctio]

Cutting out drinking all together seems like the most sensible solution to the problem, because of all of the dangers that can occur when someone isn’t able to fully control their body. Many deaths and injuries occur while people are intoxicated, yet a large percent of the country drinks. This number is also high on college campuses, because students feel like they have a sense of freedom since they are no longer under the constant watch of their parents. According to a Villanova University study, “Nationally, a very large majority, about 80 percent, of college students use alcohol. The research on college student drinking is interesting in that it shows that more than 70 percent of college students report that when they drink, they drink four or fewer drinks on any one occasion of drinking.”(Holloway). Unfortunately cutting out all drinking on campus will never actually be 100% effective, so rather than trying to stop the inevitable colleges should take steps to protect students from making bad choices while intoxicated. Since drinking isn’t allowed on campus, we are not required to take an alcohol awareness class like most colleges. These classes provide education on the dangers of alcohol. This causes problems if students aren’t aware of when someone has had way too much and needs to go to the hospital. CNU has a job to educate and protect its students, but protection does not mean censoring them from what they believe is unsafe, because being unsafe isn’t drinking alcohol, it’s doing it in an unsafe environment. [anadiplosis]

Cited:

“A Snapshot of Annual High-Risk College Drinking Consequences.” College Drinking:. National Alcohol Awareness, 2013. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

Goldberg. “Drunken Driving Crash Shattered Teen’s Life.” ABC News, 2009. Web. 2015.

Kerr. “How Risky Is Your Uber Ride? Maybe More than You Think – CNET.” CNET. CNET, 2014. Web. 23 Nov. 2015

Holloway. “Alcohol Use in College.” Alcohol Use in College. Villanova University, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.

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