Protect Students, Not Policies

Tim Coulther

Obviously, last weekend was Spring Party Weekend, and along with it came the usual debauchery. For the most part, the events I attended went well (save for the rain); however, there was one problem I encountered that I think needs to be addressed. I attended the Gi­ants of Science concert with a few friends and I and another friend openly had water with us. At the entrance, though, we were told to empty our bottles because we could not bring them in, even though we offered to allow the security guards to smell it because it was clearly water. Right before this, we had gone to a concert at the 1934 House, where our bottles were smelled and we were cleared for entry.

Honestly, drug use is prevalent on SPW, whether it is alcohol or various other stimulants. As a part of the Wellness Initiative and Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, I’ve come to know that drinking water is very important. There are plenty of campaigns going around about drinking water and staying safe, and yet we were told we couldn’t bring water in to an event which would involve a lot of people in tight quarters. This lends itself quite nicely to overheating and dehydration. Also, I’m pretty sure if people wanted to bring alcohol to the event, they probably would be able to bring it in there pretty easily.

It would be unfair not to share that we found out before leaving that there was water, however it was right next to the beer tent. But being under 21, I figured it would be wise to stay away from that tent. In general, though, the mere concept of taking away the water irks me. If a person wants to bring water to an event in any state they are in, it just makes sense to let them keep it; confirm it is water, but let it go. Why risk students going without water by taking it away from them when you can just as easily let them keep it and be safe?

This is exactly what happened to us. We kindly poured out our drinks and went on our way into the tent for the music, forgetting our want of water. It was not until after we left that we happened to stumble upon their bottled water.

At the time, your first focus is not necessarily on safety, so we didn’t care too much about the water. Looking back at it, though, I am very disappointed with what happened, because who knows if I had needed that water. Luckily I didn’t need it, but it’s an unnecessary risk that could have been easily avoided.

So often we talk about making our students safer, and yet we do things like this which serve nobody. It seems to me to be a little hypocritical for Colgate to talk about kids being safer. A whole “do the right thing” campaign is being run, and yet this happens. We went out of our way to bring water to be safe, and there we were being told we couldn’t have it.

I am a big believer in harm reduction and think it is a very important for safe and re­sponsible drug use. Water is very important in this, and we should therefore be encouraging people to drink water when they need it. There was no difference between the water I was bringing in and the water offered there, except that mine was poured out on the ground while the other water sat idly by for the concert. If Colgate wants to make this a safer place, we need to look at our different policies and see who they are really helping.