Academia

Tennessee Takes the Fun Out of Toga Parties

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Don't tell mom--I'm an alcoholic

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen signed a measure last week requiring state-funded colleges and universities to notify parents any time their kid violates a school's alcohol or drug policy.

It seems that Bredesen and crew are banking on changes made in federal rules after the Virginia Tech shootings. The Department of Education modified the language in an effort to balance "safety, privacy, and treatment."

In other words, under the guise of keeping students safe, Tennessee lawmakers are forcing state schools to send home behavioral report cards for any kid under the age of 21, whether parents want to know or not.

Bredesen—who either believes (despite available evidence to the contrary) that a freshman or sophomore getting caught with pot or doing upside-down margarita shots constitutes an emergency; or is pretending to believe such a thing in order to force parents into doling out the kind of discipline that deans cannot—has likely gone too far with the new disclosure law.

Students who decide to challenge the law in future, perhaps after mom or dad cuts them off for smoking weed out of an apple, would probably win the court battle.

That is, if their parents don't ground them for getting caught doing a 20-second keg stand while wearing an adult diaper.

Ed Carson for reason on college drinking here.

NEXT: Mr. Modesty

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  1. Jesus. What’s going on?

    They confiscated everything,
    even the stuff we didn’t steal.

    They took the bar!

    The whole fucking bar!

    Thanks. I needed that.

    Christ.

    This is ridiculous.

    What are we going to do?

    Road trip.

  2. We need to quit this pussyfooting around and man up and make the call. Either 18 year olds are adults or they are not. I’m tired of the halfway house crap we foist off on them.

    I think I’m going to slap the next person who says “it’s for the children” unironically in front of me.

  3. I had the same reaction, T, when the media referred to the Virginia Tech Shooter (23 years old) as a “kid” killing other “kids” (18-25 year olds).

    I’m sorry, but a “kid” that is not.

  4. Maybe the notice should just go to whomever is paying the tuition.

  5. Either 18 year olds are adults or they are not. I’m tired of the halfway house crap we foist off on them.

    In general, I agree. However, in this specific case, I think the golden rule applies – he who has the gold makes the rules. And this policy doesn’t go far enough.

    If mommy & daddy are paying for your school, guess what, you get mommy and daddy all up in your grill. And it shouldn’t matter if you’re 16, 18, 21, 31, or 61.

    You don’t like it, then get a job, or enlist, and pay for college yourself.

  6. I think such a law already exists in Pennsylvania.

    At any rate, it was in effect when I was at the University of Pittsburgh, 2001-2005. Pitt’s a semi-public institution, though, so it’s possible that was just a school policy, rather than a legislative mandate.

  7. Are parents notified when an infringement of a school’s other official policies occur, or when little Biff or Buffy scores a 1.0 and proceeds directly to academic probation? What about mooonlight publicly-applied head for the football team by either “B”? If a state law is broken, whether it is a school’s policy or not, shouldn’t the gendarmes become involved? If so, do they have an obligation to contact and advise parents of the violation? (And, at what age does the culprit become an adult in Tennessee, Mr. Google?) Isn’t reefer through an apple healthy? It may even be Veganesque, no?

  8. getting caught doing a 20-second keg stand

    20 seconds? Please. A friend of mine did a 57-second one once. Granted, he’s a bit insane, but still.

    I doubt most parents will give a shit about the report card, and the children of those that do will merely be more careful, something they probably were in the first place.

    I predict this will have nearly zero effect on anything. Which is good.

  9. Pirate Guy,

    I know that Vandy sent notices to parents after the freshmen had their first round of tests (at least in the Fall of ’87). I friend of mine did poorly (due to excessive partying) and her parents got a letter. She improved her grades and then got knocked up.

    I wasnt involved in either.

  10. If mommy & daddy are paying for your school, guess what, you get mommy and daddy all up in your grill. And it shouldn’t matter if you’re 16, 18, 21, 31, or 61.

    That’s exclusively between each student and the person paying-parent or otherwise.

    The issue here is that the state has mandated that universities notify an adult’s parent if that adult violates a law regarding alcohol/drugs in contradiction of accepted privacy rules/laws involving adults and education.

    What’s next? A letter home to parents when a student visits the university clinic to see if they have an STD? How about a letter home because the student got a speeding ticket.

  11. That’s exclusively between each student and the person paying-parent or otherwise.

    Okay, then. So if the parents are the meddling type, they’d presumably want to get notifications. If they’re not, they won’t care when they do get notifications. What changes?

  12. What changes is the state is making the decision about the notifications, not the student.

    If a student chooses to withhold notifications, that is exclusively their right. If a parent wants to be notified and isn’t, they need to take that up with their student son/daughter.
    The parent could always exercise their right not to pay anymore.

  13. Smoking weed out of an apple? I gotta try that!

  14. Fishfry,

    You may be onto something . . . a bong made out of an apple.

  15. They are adults. Some of them are even paying for their education without help from their parents.

  16. And of course there’ll be parents who after a while, will ask why they HAVEN’T received any such notice. Worried that their kid is just too square.

    🙂

  17. I agree that eighteen year olds are either adults or they’re not.

    I say they’re not.

  18. I think the school is within its rights to send grades and notices of disciplinary actions to the billing address listed. If the person actually paying the bill (sometimes the parents) are okay with that billing address being the students that is fine as if they insist on it being their address.

  19. Mr. Riggs, let me help you out a little.

    Governor Phil Bredesen D-TN

    There, fixed. If your publication is going to tag the Rs and Joe Lieberman, as an I, then they really need to tage everybody with a Party affiliation.

  20. Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen signed a measure last week requiring state-funded colleges and universities to notify parents any time their kid violates a school’s alcohol or drug policy.

    I don’t think the postal service can really handle several hundred letters a day for every student.

  21. Back when I was a 26 year old parent of a 4 year old and caught the flu from my 4 year old, the University of Tennessee wanted me to get a not from my parents to delay a midterm exam until I got better.

    They did settle for a note from my son’s doctor.

  22. It doesn’t even matter if a student is paying their own way, they aren’t considered independents by their schools for financial aid anyway. Not until they’re 24, married, have a dependent, and there are seven other provisions, one of which you’d have to meet. So no, they’re not considered adults even if they’re paying their own way, to the financial aid centers.

  23. We need to quit this pussyfooting around and man up and make the call. Either 18 year olds are adults or they are not. I’m tired of the halfway house crap we foist off on them.

    Considering that the government wants to treat all of its citizens like children, that shouldn’t be surprising.

    No abortions. No birth control. No porn. No gambling. No drinking. No smoking. No drugs. No gay sex. Safety/warning labels on everything. Sit down and shut up, we know what’s best for you.

  24. I say we emancipate kids too young, anyway. Keep them as sub-citizens until they’re thirty.

  25. To paraphrase Robert Anton Wilson:

    There are no adults anywhere.

  26. Is Riggs objecting to the notion that people in the 18-21 years old range should be considered minors in the first place? If not, how is informing their legal guardians of school rule violations an infringement of the student’s rights?

  27. College is becoming just as useless and necessary as high school. Too many people are going to college and slowing down the classes, the majority of which are already dumbed down. So of course people won’t become adults until their fifty, then they want health care until they get social security. Cradle to grave, that is the point.

  28. make sure you eat the apple afterwards

    sans core

    or wait…DO IT!

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