Drinking Age

UVA (and Others) Admit the Obvious: Blame It On the Alcohol


Karen Blaha / Flickr

As police investigate the shocking allegations of gang rape levelled against a University of Virginia fraternity in an unbelievable Rolling Stone story, UVA administrators have begun assigning blame and proposing dubious solutions. Suspending all campus fraternity activity, as UVA President Teresa Sullivan has done, might feel like the right thing, but it's probably not constitutional, since students enjoy the First Amendment right to be a part of clubs.

But I was thrilled to hear one administrator at least pinpointing the heart of the problem: campus binge-drinking culture. Unfortunately, that same administrator proposed a solution that would actually worsen matters. According ABC News:

A University of Virginia board on Tuesday honed in on alcohol as a contributing factor in sexual assaults on campus, with one member calling for more aggressively enforcing the law banning underage drinking. …

Board member Bobbie Kilberg said the school needed to stop underage drinking, a tall order on nearly any college campus, where drinking is a rite of passage and students under age 21 have no trouble getting alcohol.

Her suggestion was met with some resistance from student leaders. Tommy Reid, president of the school's Inter-Fraternity Council, said such a ban could push drinking "underground."

Kilberg is correct that alcohol is the big problem, or at least a big problem. Campus fraternities often play the role of black market alcohol distributor; underage students who want to drink are forced to deal with older fraternity brothers, on their turf. But enforcing drinking laws more stridently would only worsen this reality, as everyone familiar with the side effects of various government-enacted prohibitions on illicit substances will tell you.

Instead of giving more power to the very sort of people accused of gang rape at UVA—frat brothers with a monopoly on booze for the underage crowd—administrators should petition Congress to abolish the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which forces states to maintain a drinking age of 21. If teens could legally purchase alcohol and drink in bars, restaurants, or the comfort of their own dorm rooms, some of the excesses of binge-drinking culture would die off. And as a bonus, an absurd, nanny statist, freedom-destroying law would be no more.

Another college administrator—Donald Eastman III, president of Eckerd College in Florida—recently sent an e-mail to students urging them to drink less alcohol and have less sex if they want to avoid being raped. Anyone who thinks college kids are actually going to take that advice probably isn't fit to be running the show at any college in the country. You can't tell them what not to do, and you can't force them not to do it. The sexual assault problem on college campuses needs a realistic solution—one that conforms to actual human behavior. Lowering the drinking age and taking away the incentive for students to consume alcohol dangerously is the best approach.

NEXT: A. Barton Hinkle on Ending State Monopolies on Liquor Sales

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  1. Need to teach the youngsters how to make their own and bypass the three-tier distribution network.

  2. Yes, repeatedly getting drunk and behaving promiscuously are surefire ways to avoid being raped.

    1. If you behave sufficiently promiscuously, you can make yourself completely rape proof.

      1. Good point there.

      2. because you can’t rape the willing?

  3. Don’t want your car to be stolen? Don’t leave it running when you go into the store.

    Don’t want to get raped? Don’t get plastered with a bunch of horny frat guys.

    Common sense. Derp.

    1. If the story is true, the victim was not drunk and was violently gang raped.

      If the story is true, I blame the rapists and not alcohol or frat culture.

      1. You blame rapists for rape?


        1. Facts?! Logic?! Evidence?!

          You’re more rapey than Warty!

  4. CNN just had a segment of hyperventilating about teh RAPEZ EPIDEMICK!!!

    “Why don’t they expel the rapists? Somebody accused them, didn’t she?”

    1. I mentioned this on the last RAPE CULTUREZ!! thread after it had died…

      But when the Army started up its, “Hey! Let’s Not Be all Rapey(TM)” training they sat us down and had us watch, the documentary Invisible War, in it they interview a particularly strident SJW who was aghast that everyone that was subjected to Court Martial proceedings for sexual assault/rape were not convicted… and if IRC she was an attorney.

  5. frat brothers with a monopoly on booze for the underage crowd

    Come on, fraternities are hardly the only places where underage people get alcohol.

    1. Agreed – Soave definitely has the anti-Greek chip on his shoulder commonly seen among all university newspaper editors/staff…

    2. This is true. But as liquor stores are pressured to be more stringent about checking IDs and colleges more vigorously enforce rules about underage drinking, it becomes more the case.

      When I was in college it was pretty much as if there was no drinking age. Officially registered parties were supposed to check IDs and put X’s on people’s hands or something. But that was only for when campus security (who were not police) showed up, and they really didn’t care as long as things didn’t get out of hand.
      I bet it’s a bit different now.

      1. My freshmen year, they didn’t check any identification whatsoever. The college served beer to anyone with a school I.D. That policy was the same at my friends school. The next year, the Feds seemingly cracked down on this and issued a warning to schools and they started checking but it was a bit haphazard as you say. This was 89-90 then sophomore year was 90-91.

  6. What ever you do, don’t expect college age adults to assume responsibility for themselves. We must coddle and infantilize them.

    1. +1 In Loco Parentis

  7. A University of Virginia board on Tuesday honed in on alcohol as a contributing factor in sexual assaults on campus, with one member calling for more aggressively enforcing the law banning underage drinking.

    Fake ID stings by the Honor Council? That’ll fix it.

    1. Followed by double secret probation if the Honor Council thing doesn’t work out.

  8. Anyone who thinks college kids are actually going to take that advice probably isn’t fit to be running the show at any college in the country.

    “Those kids are soooooo stoopid, derr hurrr!”

  9. RAAAHHH!!! Polly want parietal rules! RAAAHHH!!

    /Eddie van Halen aka Notorious GKC

    1. An idea so self-evidently wrong that it need not be refuted by actual evidence.

      Just like any accusation of rape is automatically true – don’t bother with the evidence because our FEELZ tell us what’s true or false!

      1. Yes, enforcing anti-sex rules at college is self-evidently retarded. Get it through your head Eddie: we’re just not into your Catholic theocracy fetish.

        1. Excellent, here’s two arguments in rebuttal:

          “self-evidently retarded” – Hmmm…kind of short of evidence there.

          “Catholic theocracy fetish” – you’re aware that *Protestant* colleges, and even state schools, used to have these sorts of “Catholic” policies.

          OK, any better arguments against my position?

          1. All right, then, were colleges wrong *then* – at the time of parietal rules – or are they wrong *now?*

            1. It’s self-evident because WE’RE ADULTS FUCK OFF. Again: leave us out of your creepy religious fantasies. Nobody’s interested.

              1. You always argue a child. You even all capsed your declaration that we are adults…

                1. Like a child…WHOOPS!

          2. There are schools that have rules against sex and drinking. That’s fine. They serve a particular segment of the population that wants that kind of rules. Most don’t because that is a pretty small part of the population. It would be retarded for schools to start making rules that their customers clearly do not want.

            1. Hey! Why don’t we just ban rape?!?!

  10. As a former frat rat with both Greek and GDI friends, I can say with 100% confidence that the presence of Greek letters has no bearing on whether or not a person will drink excessively. If they’re going to do it, they’re going to do it regardless of membership. This is nothing more than a witch hunt with re-packaged perpetual victimhood.

    1. I went to a school where fraternities were not a huge part of campus life, so perhaps my observations are too limited. But it did seem like the fraternities, while not the only places where lots of excessive drinking and partying went on by a long shot, they did seem to be places where stereotypical “frat boy” kind of stuff was most concentrated.
      Just an observation. I have no particular problem with frats.

    2. If they’re going to do it, they’re going to do it regardless of membership.

      As a dorm and apartment dweller, completely averse to social fraterinities and *as a parent*, I can attest to the truth of this statement.

      Drinking into unconsciousness and molesting unconscious individuals (maliciously or not) is, by no means, exclusively the domain of any fraternity or organization.

      1. I was at a college where frats were *banned.* There was still underage drinking, though.

        1. And I’m sure no one ever got pantsed, drawn on, eyebrows shaved off, teabagged, urinated on, etc., etc., etc., etc.

          Not saying I approve of any of those things. Just that I’ve personally been a part of, witnessed, and perpetuated an innate joy in developing a behavior of being generally disrespectful to unconscious people that begins well before drinking, college, or fraternities are involved.

          I think part of my aversion to fraternities in school was that I did get my drinking, partying, and social subversion out of the way well before going to college.

        2. I attended a university where fraternities had houses and were legal, but sororities were banned from having houses, because years earlier someone had committed suicide over not getting accepted. Not sure how that was legal.

    3. Still looking for Soave advocating anything like a witchhunt in his piece. Looking, looking…. Nope! Reading, how does it work?

      1. Still looking for where I said Soave was advocating a witchhunt. Looking, looking… Nope! I never said that.

        Nice try, jackass.

        1. “Nice try”? At what? Leave me out of your weird mind-reading fantasies, douchebag.

  11. “Grab its motherfucking leg”

    1. The story is outrageous. The sheer callousness exhibited by all parties is hard to believe. I hope it’s a lie, because if it isn’t, there are some seriously fucked up people wandering around UVA.

      1. Including the professors and SJWs who never noticed a girl who’d gotten the shit kicked out of her or never bothered to check on what the hell happened.

        1. Oh, yeah, and her mother who found out about it and did nothing about it.

        2. I certainly include all of them as well.

      2. Including the victim’s “friends” who convinced her to not go to the hospital and not file a police report, warning her of the adverse impact on her reputation at that university.

        Had something like that happened to one of my friends, we would go to the hospital and the police, and then accompany them to the crime scene to identify and arrest the perpetrators. As for reputation at that school, that is easily solved by dropping out and transferring somewhere else.

  12. Huzzah! Ima live forever!

    The U.S. public health establishment buries overwhelming evidence that abstinence is a cause of heart disease and early death. People deserve to know that alcohol gives most of us a higher life expectancy?even if consumed above recommended limits.

    In fact, the evidence that abstinence from alcohol is a cause of heart disease and early death is irrefutable?yet this is almost unmentionable in the United States. Even as health bodies like the CDC and Dietary Guidelines for Americans (prepared by Health and Human Services) now recognize the decisive benefits from moderate drinking, each such announcement is met by an onslaught of opposition and criticism, and is always at risk of being reversed.

    Noting that even drinking at non-pathological levels above recommended moderate limits gives you a better chance of a longer life than abstaining draws louder protests still. Yet that’s exactly what the evidence tells us.

    Driven by the cultural residue of Temperance, most Americans still view drinking as unhealthy; many call alcohol toxic. Yet, despite drinking far less than many European nations, Americans have significantly worse health outcomes than heavier-drinking countries…

    Although, if true, suppressing evidence in the name of morality really pisses me off.

    1. many call alcohol toxic.

      I don’t much approve of expos?s that confuse fact with moralizing though either.

    2. Saying that abstinence is a cause of something seems a bit of an odd way to put it. Very interesting, though. And encouraging.

  13. Here are the bottom-line paragraphs of the letter by President Donald Eastman of Eckerd College:

    “You also know that our College is not alone in its concern about such behavior, principally among its students. And you know that these incidents are almost always preceded by consumption, often heavy consumption, of alcohol, often by everyone involved in them. You can do your part in helping this College and this culture address this nexus of problems by
    doing two relatively simple things:

    “1. By limiting your own consumption of alcohol, and encouraging your friends to do the same. Socrates included wine at his Symposium, but he did not get drunk.

    “2. You can be thoughtful about the dramatic and often negative psychological effects that sexual activity without commitment can have. Virtue in the area of sexuality is its own reward, and has been held in high esteem in Western Culture for millennia because those who are virtuous are happier as well as healthier. No one’s culture or character or understanding is improved by casual sex, and the physical and psychological risks to both genders are profound.”


    Naturally, this has prompted a calm, thoughtful discussion!

    1. I’m impressed that a college prez, of all people, is tossing out the responsibility card. I’m dismayed that someone has to explain to others than alcohol plus hormones running wild might lead to sex.

  14. “Squeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaal laahk a peeeeg!!!!”

    Unbelievable is putting it mildly. But for people who think we’re one snowstorm/hurricane/power failure/NBA championship from Lord of the Flies, that story is just another leafy branch on the disaster porn tree.

    Also, I have it on good authority (I saw that movie!) that college English professors use marijuana to get earnest doe-eyed college girls to fuck them while their boyfriends are away on binge drinking road trips.

    *wanders off muttering about ripping bodices*

  15. WKU is considering allowing alcohol (back) on campus.

  16. because the ban will work this time.

  17. I give up. Our society has reached peak parody.

    1. Wait til next week.

  18. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link,
    go to tech tab for work detail ????????????? http://www.jobsfish.com

    1. So now it’s a job with Google, and 6K gets you a new BMW?

  19. I wonder what would happen if some wealthy UVA alum provided a generous grant to the school for combat marksmanship training for all incoming freshmen, female and male.

    1. UVa bans all weapons (including such things as nunchucks–which my martial-arts-practicing daughter found to be an annoying crimp in her style when she was there) from Grounds.

  20. “Donald Eastman III, president of Eckerd College in Florida?recently sent an e-mail to students urging them to drink less alcohol”

    Mr. Eastman will probably be resigning soon. The president of Lincoln Univ. in Pa. resigned last week after howls from women about a similar message he gave. Urging women to be careful around alcohol and horny men, was apparently “blaming the victim” for their rapes.
    Local newspaper editorialized in favor of the removal, too. I note, however, that they are always printing articles about how to avoid
    identity theft and scams that target women. Guess they are “victim blaming” too?

    1. “I’m leaving my wallet next to this crack house, and it better be there when I get back, with all the money in it! And don’t criticize my decision, you victim-blamer!”

    2. victim blaming is okay when it spans all Census check blocks. There is no agenda to be served when none of the grievance groups is a greater target than everyone else. Either that or logic has no place in editorial writing, which would not be hard to believe.

    3. I just got accused yesterday of victim-shaming because I said I wished Bill Cosby’s victims had spoken out 40 years ago. My friend, who is normally not all HuffPost-y, said I was basically defending Bill Cosby. Why is everyone losing their fucking minds lately?

  21. I’m all for lowering the drinking age. But I went to UVA as the drinking age was being raised, and (combined with a significant police crackdown on Easter weekends, previously a traditional big party time) it brought a noticeable reduction in the most excessive partying.

    I could imagine lowering the drinking age to 16, so that kids’ first freedom to drink didn’t happen in college, might help. I really don’t see that lowering it to 18 would.

    1. I think more important than lowering the drinking age is to stop acting like any violation is a huge deal and a serious crime. Even if the drinking age stays at 18 or 21 (personally, I don’t think a drinking age is necessary at all), allowing parents to decide if their kid should have a drink at a restaurant or host a party where drinking can be monitored and controlled to some extent. Holding parents criminally liable for things like that definitely doesn’t help.

  22. my co-worker’s sister-in-law makes $82 every hour on the computer . She has been unemployed for ten months but last month her pay check was $17037 just working on the computer for a few hours. find more info ….

    ????? http://www.netjob70.com

  23. I went and read the Rolling Stone article, and I give it at least a 50% chance of the rape allegations having been entirely fabricated. Something about it seems off. It is WAY over the top. The allegations are basically that a group of frat boys lured a freshman woman into their party, then lured her to an upstairs room and gang-raped her as part of a group “initiation” of some sort.

    This wasn’t an allegation about a bunch of drunk guys spontaneously raping her. It’s an elaborate, deliberate planned assault. Her supposed “boyfriend” is the one who leads her into a darkened room where she is immediately assaulted. It had to have been planned in advance.

    I just, frankly, do not buy that a bunch of frat boys, as bad as they may be, are going to deliberately orchestrate a gang-rape, knowing that any single one of them could turn all of the others into the cops at any time.

    The story sounds to me like, first of all, the plot of a cheap TV movie, and secondly, just the kind of dramatization that a girl with some serious mental problems might invent. It doesn’t sound like a REAL rape. It sounds like someone’s imaginary rendition of what a gang-rape would be like, based on some very exaggerated ideas about what how frat boys are likely to act.

  24. Out of an abundance of caution, I propose shutting down all state-run universities until we can be sure this will never happen again.

  25. Hey! Here’s an idea. Since the narcotic drug, alcohol, is such a problem (over 50% of all violent crimes due to alcohol use) why don’t the feds and states add it to the war on drugs list. That would solve the problem. Right?

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