I’ll say it if nobody else will. I have been intoxicated on campus too many times to count.
I’m not saying this to boast or brag, but I want to bring up a larger issue and that is the issue of our dry campus.
We all know the rule. Don’t drink on campus, otherwise you’ll get in trouble and pay a fine. In bad cases, you may go to detox or spend the night in jail. Nobody likes those nights. There should be an addendum to that rule: Don’t drink on campus, or at least don’t get caught.
I can’t say that everyone at Concordia drinks, because they don’t. There are people who adhere to the rules and respect the drinking age. But for many people, especially those I have interacted with on campus, drinking is social activity and it’s not just restricted to off-campus locations.
It’s not a secret; students have alcohol in their dorm rooms. And officials at Concordia would be oblivious not to accept that fact. Students have and will always find ways to get around Concordia’s alcohol policy.
I believe that by enforcing a dry campus on students, it only increases the urge to drink on campus. There is something about living on the edge and sticking it to the man by drinking on campus.
As it stands, Concordia is nowhere near ending its 123-year dry campus streak. While the archaic policy may have applied to a time when prohibition actually existed in the United States, today a dry campus does not seem as relevant to our students.
To state it bluntly, I believe our campus needs to be a wet campus.
There are many opportunities for the college to help out not only itself, but the students as well.
Sure, there are other dry campuses in the ELCA and MIAC systems, but the majority are wet. Gustavus, St. John’s, St. Thomas, Luther, Carleton, Augsburg, St. Ben’s and Hamline are all wet campuses. And those are just some schools in Minnesota where alcohol is allowed. I won’t even expand into the neighboring states.
These schools are all very similar to Concordia and, truthfully, they are fighting for the same demographic of students that we are. Sure, they are all small, private liberal arts colleges, but they are more progressive than we are.
We were one of the last colleges to loosen visitation policies. That may help to bring in just a few more students, but our alcohol policy may also deter some students.
If a student sees that we are a dry campus and sees that another campus, such as St. John’s, has a bar, where do you think they may be more tempted to go? Of course, I’m not saying that all students will want to choose a campus based on whether or not they can drink there, but it could be a factor that tips the scales one way or another.
If Concordia were to be a wet campus, there would be opportunities for the school to make additional money.
As I mentioned before, St. John’s has a bar on campus. If Concordia were to implement such a bar on campus, there would be money to be made. The college wouldn’t even need to build a new building for this; there is unused infrastructure, which could be a possibility (above the bookstore).
Not only would a bar on campus be a convenience factor, but it would also, in some cases, prevent the need for students to go to bars in Moorhead and Fargo. The travel necessary to get to and from Fargo is sometimes dangerous, especially when alcohol is involved.
A wet campus could make drinking on campus more appealing and safer for everyone as well.
One of the main reasons for a dry campus is the safety of the students. The idea is that when a campus doesn’t allow alcohol, students are deterred from drinking. But we all know this isn’t the case at Concordia.
If Concordia is concerned about student safety while at school, then why not implement a policy that will help monitor students’ alcohol consumption?
Students, while intoxicated on campus, are extremely afraid to get caught drinking. They will do anything to hide their alcohol and more importantly, their symptoms of intoxication, even when they need help.
Sure, there is a Good Samaritan rule, but even then, the thought of getting a drinking violation will scare some students into not getting help at all.
But trust me when I say this, the threat of a drinking violation isn’t enough to stop students from drinking on campus.
I’m not saying we should advocate for underage drinking on campus because, after all, that is against the law. But what I am saying is that students should be able to drink responsibly on campus.
Either way, students will find a way to smuggle booze onto campus. Those drawstring Concordia bags make for a good way to transport alcohol – thanks for providing those, Concordia.
Start small. Allow alcohol in the apartments or in the townhouses where students are mostly 21. This is where visitation policy limitations were first loosened, so why not alcohol, too?
Look at models of how other colleges operate their wet campuses.
Gauge student interest in Concordia becoming a wet campus.
There are many possibilities to make it work, it’s just time for Concordia to start looking into them.
I drink on campus. My friends drink on campus. A lot of people drink on campus. It’s time for Concordia to realize it’s not 1920 anymore. Let’s all be a little bit more progressive, a little bit safer and a little smarter about alcohol on campus.
I’m Sean Plemmons, the Editor-in-Chief for the 2014-2015 school year and a member of the class of 2015 at Concordia. I am a Multimedia Journalism and Political Science major with an English Writing minor. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Journalism is part of my life, and everyone else’s. Let’s tell stories the right way.