I can choose the next leader of the free world by voting. I can destroy my lungs by smoking cigarettes if I wanted (not on campus, of course). I can be sentenced to the death penalty.
I can pay thousands of dollars for my education. I can join the military, fight and die for my country. I can put my John Hancock on a bank loan and ruin my name. I can go downtown and get a glass full of the harshest Russian vodka you’ve ever had.
I cannot, however, have alcohol on UK’s campus. Does this make sense to you?
Now, some people reading this will say, before I even get to the end of this sentence, “We do not need to be condoning underage drinking,” “we do not need legal-aged drinkers influencing underage drinkers,” “we do not need boys being allowed to binge drink on campus legally.”
This is not the issue. The issue is a person’s right, given by the U.S. government, to have or consume alcohol. If you are 21 years old, you should be allowed to have a six pack in your fridge.
UK should take pride in knowing it has thousands of students seeking a higher education. These students can see far enough into the future to realize a college degree will make their lives better.
These students know the difference between a good decision and a bad decision. These students know binge drinking is bad for them, but if they make the conscious decision to do it as adults then they have the right to do so.
I hate to break it to university officials, but no matter how much they try, no matter how many policemen are on the streets and no matter how harsh the consequences, there will always be students consuming alcohol — it is a fact of college life.
So rather than trying to reduce it through brute force or through Big Brother constantly looking over our shoulders, the university should reduce it through legality.
There is no telling how many students drink and drive from a party back to their home on campus. Whether we like to admit it or not, it happens.
They will get in their cars and drive all the way across campus to get home. This is in no way acceptable or tolerable, but it’s a fact.
Rather than forcing students to go further and further away from campus to have a party that won’t be broken up by some overzealous police officers, why not allow them to have their party on campus and let them walk back to their dorms or their houses?
I guarantee you DUIs will decrease and fatalities resulting from DUIs will go down through this policy.
So if you are strictly against allowing adults to make their own decisions then look at it from the angle of less drunk drivers potentially hitting your car head-on in a fiery, maybe that will change your mind.
Based on a study by Landry Fields, Kacey Marr, Longford Nguyen, Michael Porter and Christina Wemer, and published by the Gatton Student Research Publication, “The majority of students of the University of Kentucky are clearly not following the alcohol policy stated in the Student Code of Conduct … Students do not feel obliged to follow the alcohol policy and do not feel threatened by the punishment for violating the alcohol policy.”
I, for one, have never had the idea pop into my head while drinking on campus that I am violating the Student Code of Conduct. I have never had the thought that if I get caught I will have to go to C.H.O.I.C.E.S or pay a $100 fine.
These rules UK has put in place are hardly known, let alone enforced. They can’t be.
Another finding from the same publication found that, “The current alcohol policy of the University of Kentucky does not appear to be effective. In a random survey of UK students, 75 percent of the underage students admitted to consuming alcohol. Also, 59 percent of the students said they have consumed alcohol in the dormitories at the University of Kentucky; 63 percent of the students who admitted to drinking in the residence halls were under the age of 21.”
These results are with the current UK rules and they obviously are not working. Instead of trying to toughen the rules by adding more rules, why not try something different that will actually work.
Let college men and women that are legal enjoy the responsibilities that make life interesting.
Treat them as the adults they are instead of a live bomb just waiting to explode.
We have proven we are responsible by just showing up on the first day of class. UK students should present a united front and demand changes be made.
We need to demand to be treated as adults with no need for a babysitter, and we need to demand the right to have top shelf bourbon in our 50-year-old dorm room if you are of legal drinking age.
There will be a petition in every on-campus housing unit, as well as other places around campus.
I encourage each person who thinks the university should at least consider changing from a “dry” campus to a “wet” campus to sign this petition and let the university know how the student body feels.
Jim Blackerby is an international studies senior. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.