Letter to the Editor: Not only Greek life to blame for dangerous alcohol consumption

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To the editor:

As a rare reader of The Bucknellian, when I heard about John Stevenson’s article “University’s attempts to halt binge drinking inadequate” I assumed that he was just calling University students a bunch of alcoholics. After picking up the article for myself I finally understand why people were talking about it. He points out the increase in drinking incidents and begins to call out the Greek system, Public Safety and the University itself for not preventing this from happening. He does so articulately and passionately, not as one who intends to insult the school as a whole, but as one who hopes to make it better. However, if I completely agreed with John I wouldn’t be writing this. First off, he claimed that there was a 300% increase in the number of reported sexual assaults. It is a 300% increase in the number of hospitalizations from the semester before. We had 42 hospitalizations last semester, but only a total of 20 hospitalizations for the whole year prior. While John has the best intentions, I feel as though he calls out the wrong people. I first want to point out that we are only hearing the whole statistic. We hear no breakdown of guy/girl, year, Greek/non-Greek, 4Loko/non-4Loko. The only thing we hear is the increase in hospitalizations and number of alcohol-related incidents. When I asked a Dean flat out, I was told that about 35% of both hospitalizations and alcohol-related incidents were Greek. He either didn’t have the breakdown by gender or year in front of him or he refused to tell me. On a campus that is more than 50% Greek (freshman included) this tends to indicate that the Greek students are being safer than non-Greeks. With the numbers stated above it seems like I imply freshmen are to blame. I have no breakdown by year, so I give no comment. To say Public Safety sits idly by while drinking occurs on campus is an insult to them. There are only three places where drinking occurs: downtown, fraternity houses and in dorms. Out of the total drinking incidents that occur (a little more than 250 last semester) more than 60% occur downtown, which is out of the jurisdiction of Public Safety. Public Safety is not here to get us in trouble; they are here for our safety. Greeks are in constant talks with Public Safety almost daily. And as any Greek member knows, if someone gets too drunk at your house, you get in trouble–not only that, it makes your fraternity look bad. So what needs to be known is that the Greeks self-police themselves and those who attend their parties, whether this is because fear of getting in trouble, worries about image or decent human empathy. So this leads me to dorms. You can’t expect Public Safety to station an officer in every dorm every night, can you? No one can blame the RA’s. Like Public Safety, they are not here to bust freshmen, but are here for our safety. While John said the student body must receive aid from the school, I disagree. Now that these numbers are around campus and the student body is aware of the situation, I honestly believe the alcohol-related incidents will decrease, but it is our job to be active and self-police to prevent the increasing trend in alcohol related incidents. We must remember that we are adults and while the school and Public Safety are here to help us out, they are not here to hold our hands and baby us through life.

Tej Pahwa ’12

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