The Arizona Desert Lamp

UA Alcohol & Drug Policy

Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on 15 September 2008

It’s hard to discern why the university’s “Statement on Drug Free Schools and Campuses” was sent out today, or why it was sent out at all, but the aforementioned policy statement was sent to (presumably) all UA students, informing them that, surprisingly enough, the UA does not condone alcohol abuse and illict drug use.

It is funny to read the email essentially apologize for its own existence:

Under Federal legislation entitled The Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, and The Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 (“Act “), no institution of higher education shall be eligible to receive funds or any other form of financial assistance under any federal program, including participation in any federally funded or guaranteed student loan program, unless it has adopted and has implemented a program to prevent the use of illicit drugs and abuse of alcohol by students and employees. The Act requires the annual distribution of the following information to students and employees.

Translation: Guys, we’re sorry we have to do this, but we lose all government funding if we don’t. Feel free to delete this immediately.

Most of the email is the usual DARE-esque drivel, but it was useful in reminding students that the E-CHUG program still exists, and that it is still must be completed by all first-year students. The survey, of course, is a joke; speaking from experience, I can tell you that the information is wrong, that no one takes it seriously, and that funds for this program should be used elsewhere. But don’t take it from me; your ASUA Senate (well, one senator, anyways) thinks so as well:

“I think the validity of the information is incorrect,” said Steve Wallace, a pre-business freshman. “I do not drink more than 93 percent of people in this school.”

Because, clearly, if you drink in the top quintile of the university, you risk serious health effects and long-term life failure. Or, you know, you become a Senator in ASUA and set yourself up for a successful career at Eller. Wouldn’t it be nice if this got brought up by the Senate?

If you were really serious about educating on the risks of drinking, there’s a much better way to do it: during orientation, provide fraternities with unlimited amounts of alcohol. Wait a few hours, and take the freshmen on a tour of the house. A man passed out in his own vomit is far more successful than an online chart saying, “Tsk, tsk!” Of course, the University isn’t serious about these things, and would instead like to appear as though it is making great strides, while continuing to support a drinking age that discourages contacting the police in the case of an emergency.

A change in the drinking age won’t happen tomorrow, or next week. However, one way to make for a safer environment for students now would be to provide a guarantee that students who call 911 for an emergency would not be charged with MIPs, noise violations, or other related wrist-slaps. The role of the UAPD should be to ensure that the students on campus are safe; in such a situation, ensuring that a passed out student lives far exceeds the role of scolding, breathalyzing schoolmarm. And while such a guarantee could not be binding (underage drinking is still against state (not federal!) law), it would send a message in the same way that Colorado’s designation of misdemeanor marijuana possession as the “lowest priority” for Colorado police has.

(Delightful) photo courtesy of Flickr user andrew_mc_d

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One Response

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  1. ballmdr said, on 16 September 2008 at 2:36 am

    thanks


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