By Suntina Sephar
I am a student here at CSB/SJU and I would like to make a few points of concern I feel are pertinent in the instances that have recently arisen regarding underage drinking.
I am underage so I know my peers will relate to my obvious disappointment. However, it is not only disappointment fueling my address to you today. As may have been mentioned under the breath of some, and some very publicly, I know that a lot of the new underage drinking action has some to do with sexual assault.
Now, in a perfect world, when asked, minors would cease their action of underage consumption. But, this is not a perfect world, and I am sure, as once being teenagers yourself, you know that young people will stop at nothing to get what they want. So, my main concern is this: if underage adults remove the underage drinking scene from town, where will they go? Maybe friends’ homes, maybe other campuses, but I think the most pertinent place will be in the dorms on campus.
Now this is why I am, as a young woman, concerned. When you pack a dorm with a small capacity of people, which is eight I believe, those people will quickly disperse. Say there is a scenario where the only people left are a young man and a young woman. This is where, when they are alone and there is a bed not 10 feet away, rape becomes more realistic.
Statistically, most rapes involve a person you know after a date-like setting, or some alone time, so we are already at risk of being in that boat. Now add being alone and drunk in a confined space with a door that locks. You have just increased chances on a major scale.
However, in town, it is my belief that people, if they know you or not, are going to stand up for a vulnerable young man or young woman who may be at risk of being raped. It’s called the bystander effect, which I am sure a lot of you have heard of. Once someone interferes with a weird situation, many people will follow. That has just decreased the probability of rape.
My second concern, now taking a complete 180, has to do with the culture here at CSB/SJU. It involves Friday nights, Saturday mornings, and Saturday post-game celebrations. I am speaking in regard to tailgating.
This is a celebration among people who are over 21, alumni, parents and those who are not 21 that choose to partake in the consumption of alcohol. It is my opinion that this is a completely safe atmosphere in which people can have a good time. It is promoted through parents and alumni who, for the most part, supply the alcohol in which underagers are consuming. It is not only a place for safe drinking, but responsible drinking.
It is in these situations where we learn how to control our liquor. As young people we need ways to bond with the alumni and the community that appeal to us. Surprise, surprise, raking leaves for the community is not on the top of the list. This is a tradition that has been supported by those who represent CSB/SJU, the alumni.
My last concern has to do with the medical safety of underage adults. Although most do not fit the stereotypical “drink until I pass out” new consumer, some unfortunately do. When those who continue to consume alcohol in such a manner do so in a private setting, who is there to get them the help that they need? Most friends might just put their drunk friend to bed, not understanding the extent to which they are intoxicated. However, if the same action was done, again, in a more public setting, there would be a greater chance for that individual to get the help that they desperately need via a bystander.