The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

Bucknell Board of Trustees approves tuition increase
Four Bucknellians chosen for 2023-24 Fulbright U.S. Student Program
Midterm Madness: Exams or Papers?
Men’s Lacrosse defeats Dartmouth 15-13

Men’s Lacrosse defeats Dartmouth 15-13

February 23, 2024

Be Honest: How are you really doing?

Be Honest: How are you really doing?

February 23, 2024

“Young, Gifted and Black”: Black Arts Fest 2024

“Young, Gifted and Black”: Black Arts Fest 2024

February 23, 2024

View All

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

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

(Visited 78 times, 1 visits today)

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The editorial board of The Bucknellian reserves the right to review all comments before they are posted on the website and remove any if deemed offensive, illegal or in bad taste. Comments left on our web pages are not necessarily in-line with the views expressed by the writer.
All The Bucknellian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • J

    JoeFishMar 1, 2011 at 2:14 am

    I have a bit of input to offer after reading this article and the one it references, both of which make very valid points.
    I was indeed surprised by the veritable firestorm Stevenson’s article created, because I’m still not sure he said anything surprising. So, to proceed logically:
    First of all, there does indeed seem to be a real problem. Before we talk about culpability, it is important to establish this. There are more alcohol-related incidents now, according to the administration, than there were, and, personally, I certainly know more drunken louts than I did when I got here. Of course, if this semester has, say, 12 hospitalizations, we can call the 42 just a speed bump, a statistical oddity, perhaps. We’ll see. But do the numbers really get at the underlying atmosphere?
    Supposing this issue is a very real one, who is to blame? Of course, given the way the debate has been framed on campus, the related but more interesting question is, “Is the Greek System to blame?” Well, not entirely, of course. I am very surprised, however, at how few people believe the Greek system is even remotely to blame. There is, of course, the “occasional” hazing incident at the University; forcing people to drink (which happens somewhat often among these sorts of things) cannot be morally justified. Leaving that issue aside, there are other things that, judging from what I’ve seen, heard, and done, can be done better. The Greeks definitely self-police themselves, but it still seems as though a great many incidents slip through the cracks. It’s a very tough issue, as it really is *exceedingly* difficult to tell the difference between someone walking through your door with a BAC of .04 and another with a BAC of .21. Hell, I aced a calculus test with a BAC of .15. Not one of my prouder moments, although the acing it part was pretty cool. However, I’ve seen fraternity members serve people that no one could possibly believe to be capable of handling even one more beer, and that’s not cool.
    Pahwa makes the point that we are adults, and that we should not be “bab(ied) through life”; this is true up to a degree, but Stevenson’s prophecy of a death on campus is an ominous and truly horrifying possibility. If this ever does happen, I will mournfully wait to see how many people will hold to their “this stuff happens on college campuses” guns and how many will retroactively damn the conditions that led to the loss of a classmate.
    The issue is one of climate, of culture, more than it is of personal responsibility. I have heard from a small, disjointed minority of Greeks that it would be fantastic if there would be more social drinking – getting together for one or two beers, a few glasses of wine with some genders of the opposite persuasion, or the like – but the emphasis is, and always will be, it seems, on excess. The reason, it seems to me, is simple: the fraternities throw parties with lots and lots of alcohol (it’s amazing how long a mere 30 cases last some nights, if you know what I mean) because that gets people in their house and it is what they are supposed to do. And, hell, it’s fun, but probably the sort of fun that doesn’t need to happen every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday night (again, social drinking is key here). Additionally, many frat brothers take as their personal mission statement the fact that that the more alcohol a girl has had, the more likely she is to agree (or not disagree) to sex or the like. The freshmen drink all of that alcohol because they’re supposed to, and because they want to display their independence, and they want the fraternities to think they are cool. The rest of campus goes along because it’s what they’re used to. I’m not opposed to things like mixers on Wednesday nights, the prevalence of which seems to surprise the administration and literally no one else. When someone has shown up to your house 5 nights in the last 10, and left having consumed 10 or more beers each of those nights, then something is going wrong. I have seen such people, who clearly have a problem, be told by some others, Greeks, who are clearly aware of this problem, to drink an 11th. And a 12th. Again, this is indefensible.
    If one wants to claim that the Greek system is not responsible for any of this, that is one’s right, and, even though I disagree, I understand the arguments. However, as a member of the Greek System, I hope for my sake, in addition to that of my fellow Bucknellians, that no one does die of alcohol poisoning this semester. Because if someone drinks their 18th beer anywhere near a fraternity house and dies, it will be impossible for me to dismiss it, to say, “I had nothing to do with this”, to believe that the person who died was merely an adult who made his or her own decision, and that I am not in even the smallest part culpable, that Donne was wrong, that the bell is not tolling for me, because of me. Anyone who can believe that, I think, has not discovered what it means to be part of a community, to be a complete person. If one is preparing to eschew all responsibility for what very well seems like a dangerous climate, one that might be swelling to the point of bursting, then one must be willing to accept this price.

    Reply