Two Approaches to Curbing Student Drinking Problems


The first comes from Tufts, via the invaluable Inside Higher Ed:

Lawrence Bacow, president of Tufts University, has been inviting students who are mentioned in police reports to his office, so he can talk to them one-on-one about the risks of excessive drinking, The Boston Globe reported. In the article, Bacow argues that cultural shifts are needed to change drinking patterns, and so he asks students not only to change their own behavior but to look out for their friends. He started the effort after an incident this fall when he was walking back to his house, along with the president of Bowdoin College, after Tufts had defeated Bowdoin in football in the homecoming game, and he found a fire truck and an ambulance there, dealing with an intoxicated student. "There's a student passed out on my lawn," Bacow told the Globe. "At 3:30 in the afternoon!"

I sympathize with Bacow regarding substance abuse by students, but however heartfelt his approach is, it doesn't really get at those drinking patterns he wants to change.

For that, check out this Reason.tv video produced by Paul Feine and Alex Manning and featuring University of the South/Sewanne president (and former Middlebury president) John McCardell. McCardell's crazy idea? End the prohibitionist mind-set that triumphed on campuses by the late 1980s and actually give kids some basic instruction on how to drink without puking your guts out. As he notes, no one expects a 16 year old to be able to drive a car without practice and instruction.