Letter to the Editor

To the Observer and CWRU Community,

First, I am 22 years old and a fourth year student. I turned 21 at the beginning of my junior year and have been legally (and responsibly) enjoying alcohol since. Except for a beer with my dad, I never drank unless my parents bought me the alcohol. I do not have moral problems with underaged drinking, it simply was something that I chose not to do. Besides, people watching is really fun at parties.

The main issue I take with Maia’s piece is the same issue I take with so many other articles like this: I am tired of students whining about things they actually have control over or things they frankly know nothing about. For example, Maia implies that RAs like “stalking vodka-breathed kids” and instead should “urge sober students to keep their living areas cleaner.” Has Maia ever talked with her RA? I’ve lived with RAs over the summer and know several of them. I won’t pretend I fully understand the entirety of their job but almost none of them seem to like policing drunk students. When do they find out about these things? When they go on their rounds, while “making sure every one is healthy and happy,” to use her words. The RAs I know deeply care about the well-being of their residents. They would go out of their way to ensure the safety of their residents and unfortunately, sometimes that includes calling for a transport. Vomiting due to alcohol can be indications of something much more serious.

She states that “the RAs should really extend the same courtesy of independence to us.” Not that every student in the Village makes the best decisions when it comes to alcohol, but most Village residents have had time to mature. This isn’t something that you can teach in a seminar, not that many freshman would listen, lets be honest. Older students have earned their independence. Freshman are awesome, but being 18 doesn’t magically teach you all the workings of the world. Spoiler alert: turning 21, 34, 57, or 91 do not give the answers either.

Next, just because the alcohol is there doesn’t mean you have to drink it. Yes, I understand that college is a time of discovery, and I agree with her statement that putting 18 year olds with 21+ year olds seems ridiculous. But choosing to drink is a choice that you get to make. Alcohol makes decisions harder, but there existed some point in the night where you were sober and alone made the choice to take a first drink. You need to be responsible for this decision and every one you make after it.

In regards to her question: Why doesn’t the university, as a private institution, lower the campus drinking age to 18? You know what, lets do that. Lets lower the drinking age to 18 since clearly we don’t have any ties to the State of Ohio or Federal Government. Students could lose state/federal aid scholarship, our school could lose its non-profit status to non-compliance, and state/federal funding to labs and research could decrease. But at least then, freshman would be able to ‘legally’ do what they do already. Freshman would magically be able to make better decisions regarding alcohol.

CWRU Housing actually has a pretty lenient policy with regards to underaged drinking. My brother went to Baylor University in Texas. It is extremely baptist and has a zero tolerance policy for any alcohol on campus. Students can get heavily sanctioned and even expelled for alcohol offenses.

I’ll leave all y’all with this. Universities can offer us all the information in the world. It is our responsibility to learn, process, and practice.

Collin Williams

Edit Nov. 5 2013 11:51pm: At request of the author, the opening paragraph was edited to state “I do not have problems with….” -Kyle Patterson