Eric Warner Staff Writer
Over the past couple of weeks, talk around campus has bustlingly with news that Housing and Residential Life will be allowing one residence hall, supposedly Nutmeg, to permit students of legal age to drink alcoholic beverages on campus next semester. Last semester, Housing and Residential Life released a survey to students to determine how many students wanted to have a residence hall on campus where students over the age of 21 can freely drink in their rooms. 59% of all students on campus took the survey with 81% of those stating that they would like a 21 and over residence hall on campus and only 8% of those stating that they would not like alcoholic beverages to be allowed in any way on campus; 11% stated that they did not have a preference whether or not a 21 and over residence hall should be allowed on campus. On February 6th, Housing and Residential Life disclosed the results of this assessment to residential students along with a statement of confirmation that in the Fall semester of 2020 Housing and Residential Life will pilot a 21 and over residence hall. While it still remains to be determined which hall will be piloted as a 21 and over residence hall, there is still much debate if Eastern should cease being a dry campus going forward.
Eastern has been a dry campus for many years now, strongly prohibiting the access to alcoholic drinks on campus and even restricting the ownership of typical alcoholic containers within residence halls. Students of age can go off campus to drink at local bars or other locations, but they are restricted from being alcohol on campus; this system causes many students to go to other campuses that have less restrictive policies against alcohol to participate in social events. Of course, being a college setting, many students often sneak alcohol onto the campus for parties and other social events, but thanks to the campus’s policies against alcoholic beverages and the surveillance of resident assistants, hall directors, and other on campus staff, alcohol is far less destructive occurrence if the campus was a wet one. While college is often displayed in American society as a sort of right of passage where students party with classmates celebrating their ascendance into adulthood with alcohol, the negative effects of alcohol on students outweighs the positives it may seemingly provide socially.
Alcohol in itself is a poison to the human body, meaning that the body can only process one unit of alcohol or 10 ml per hour in the blood before it can begin slowing down brain functions. Many adults can of course regulate the amount of their drinking to ensure they don’t become too intoxicated but most students are new to drinking and are unable to regulate themselves which results in binge drinking. Students can often be peered pressured to binge drink at parties as well could result in students temporarily losing control of bodily functions and become vulnerable to abusive actions such as rape. According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in 2015, over 86% of college students at the age of 18-24 conduct in alcoholic drinking, 1,825 students within that age range die yearly from alcohol related injuries, and 696,000 students within that age range have been involved in sexual assaults due to excessive drinking. Long term drinking can also lead to alcohol dependency and poor academic performance. Effects such as these are more likely to increase at Eastern if alcoholic drinking is openly allowed for students campus wide over the legal age.
Students and campus staff shouldn’t have to be ever prevalent of intoxicated peers that can become dangerous to themselves and others. People don’t need to drink in order to have a good time in college and students should be mostly focused on school regardless. While students of age are within their rights to enjoy alcoholic drinks, students should hold off from drinking on campus to ensure that they, as well as their peers, complete their college careers safely and happily.