We have a number of concerns in the wake of Penn's first weekend under the new alcohol policy. Students, rather than sitting in sober silence, found other venues in which to drink. Police, rather than toeing their usual laissez-faire line, handed out an unusually high number of citations to students. And between the overbearing police presence, the host of citations and the prevalence of off-campus events where alcohol was served, we were left with little doubt as to the ramifications of Penn's ban. Particularly disturbing is an incident in which two Zeta Beta Tau brothers were picked up by police while returning home. The pair was transported to the hospital, where they were soon released, but not before police cited both for drinking. If Penn is truly interested in the health and safety of its students, the University would do well to ensure that they feel comfortable taking their friends to the hospital, without fear of citation or police interference. But the police enforcement came in the larger context of the ban on alcohol at undergraduate parties. It is a ban that raises increasingly troubling issues. While we initially believed there was value to this pause-and-reflect period, our expectations were not born out by the weekend's events, and we can only expect the problems to grow with time. Certainly, regulations have an important role to play in shaping the drinking environment, and should be occasionally revisited. However, we cannot comprehend the need to suspend the existing system during this evaluation period. The responsibility of individual students for their own health and the health of their friends ought to be the defining value in this discussion, not the administration's parochial dictates. Penn can best serve its student body by returning to a system which facilitates, rather than impedes, the responsible consumption of alcohol as soon as possible.Comments powered by Disqus
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