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When determining how to approach binge drinking, officials must realize their limitations. The recent recognition of this problem by the University-wide task force charged with targeting campus binge drinking is a positive step. University administrators are in a difficult position: They are often held responsible when serious consequences result from alcohol abuse, but because of the way alcohol is ingrained in American culture, there is only so much they can do to prevent that abuse. Penn officials must recognize their limitations when implementing new anti-alcohol policies. That is not to say they should throw up their hands in defeat. There are definitely measures among the task force's recommendations that could be effective in deterring alcohol abuse. And, alternatively, some of the recommended measures are misdirected. Penn has already begun to take some steps in the right direction. Encouraging late-night retail, organizing alcohol-free events and providing space for student-generated evening activities is by far the best way to combat binge drinking. The "Penn p.m." program begun last week, which included sports competitions and coffee houses, has already seen high attendance. And student response was favorable toward the possibility that the former Phi Sigma Kappa house on Locust Walk might become a student center. And, because the problem of alcohol abuse is so widespread, focusing on minutiae such as increasing Friday courses and restricting the number of evening College of General Studies courses undergraduates may take won't get us anywhere. It is true that campus culture is currently too permissive about excessive drinking. But promoting an atmosphere of prohibition is not the way to go. Students who choose to drink should take responsibility for their actions. And if a situation becomes serious, they should know how best to help their friends.

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