Colgate’s Alcohol Tolerance

Colgate's Alcohol Tolerance

Will Hazzard

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a serious change in the campus climate, particularly with the drinking culture and policy. There has been a dramatic spike in alcohol related hospitalizations as the University tightens its grip on the dorms, Greek Life and even downtown. They wish to change the atmosphere by pushing us until we break. This, however, is the worst approach Colgate could possibly take. The administration seems to be blind to the fact that their stricter policies are not only increasing the risk of alcohol related injuries, but also furthering the divide between those who choose to drink, and those who don’t. It’s time to end this, Colgate.

In the “Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” William Blake wrote that “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” and in the spirit of those words, Colgate needs to adopt a policy that is completely tolerant of students drinking habits. President Herbst and the rest of the faculty need to put an end to the senseless persecution of students and let us gain our own wisdom.

They claim that the policy is in place to protect the welfare of the student body and our safety. This is a complete lie. As of now, our protectors, Campus Safety and the Residential Advisors, are our enemies more than anything. We view them as tormentors, our boogeymen, lurking around every corner. And why is this? We fear them for the simple fact that we don’t want to be caught drinking. We would sacrifice our own well-being and security because of that fear. A policy of tolerance would foster positive relationships with them, leading to an overall safer campus. Trust is key. If we are not afraid of our protectors, then we will be more likely to report an issue when it does happen. That is ultimately better than the students trying to solve it themselves.

They claim the policy is in place to blur the divide between the drinkers and the non-drinkers, providing an atmosphere for wellness. This is also a total fallacy. The origin of the divide comes mainly from the entire concept of substance-free. Substance-free living and events clearly separate people. It alienates them instead of providing a comfortable atmosphere in which to make their own choices. And they wonder why the substance-free events have such low attendance. It’s because they market them as such. The more and more they try to bring the campus together in such a manner, the farther apart we grow. A tolerance policy would help to put every student under the same banner. It would be easier to understand the choices of our peers if we didn’t label them as being “substance-free.” In fact, alcohol consumption would probably decrease campus wide. If you take away the rebellious aspect, it will become less appealing. This would in turn promote moderation. That moderation is key in decreasing the separation between drinkers and non-drinkers.

They claim that their policy maintains the respect and integrity that this school has come to be known for. This is probably the biggest lie of all. Look at other institutions of higher learning that have equal or greater academic might as Colgate. Many of them have tolerance policies and they are no less good of schools because of that. They have not seen their rankings fall. Tolerance towards drinking will not change the quality of student Colgate prides itself on. We will continue to be scholars and excellent human beings even though we enjoy the pleasures of inebriation. A tolerance policy will not bring us down academically, but it will cause us to rise as a campus. We will no longer have to fear or judge, and we will be happier. That happiness will encompass the whole campus and relieve much of the animosity that seems to plague this campus.

There are only so many things words can accomplish though. The time for action is quickly approaching. The point we are at now can no longer sustain itself. A choice needs to be made, and fast. If the administration was really serious about ending drinking at Colgate, they would have instated a zero-tolerance policy. However, they would never do that. They know if they do, they will alienate the majority of students on campus as well as the alumni. The only possible option is a tolerance policy. It is the only way we can truly solve the problem. We currently stand on the precipice of reckless endangerment and ignorant regret with a solution staring us straight in the face. It’s time to make a change. The students are ready to take up the responsibility. It’s time for you to

trust us.