Administration controls students with alcohol policy
I was sitting at dinner Thursday, perusing the pages of The Observer, when, to my shock and dismay, I thought another writer had used one of my column ideas. As it turned out, the article was satirical, an object lesson if you will, into the immaturity caused by administrative lies.
This article started healthily enough, pointing out that the Notre Dame administration has been known on occasion to pull the wool over our eyes. I can agree with that, heck, I could write that with thick black marker on my arm.
Unfortunately, the article quickly deteriorated into a lecture on why FlipSide is a radical anti-drinking terrorist organization hell-bent on world domination. Anyway, back to the administrative lies I like so much.
You see, the biggest lie on Notre Dame's campus is the use of a certain policy to control the student body. That is: the alcohol policy. Now I myself have no problem with alcohol. I wouldn't use Rally in the Alley as my definition for maturity, but I also don't condemn its use.
But alcohol at Notre Dame is an administrative tool. It is used as a method of control.
No free speech — no one cares so long as we can get blasted on the weekend.
Terrible gender relations — that's fine, I'll drink myself under the table.
No matter what ridiculous rule or blatant disregard for student opinion occurs on campus, the end response by students is, "Who cares, I'm so wasted man!"
Think about it, we're barely allowed to look at people of the opposite gender, and tearing up a copy of duLac might get us kicked off campus, but you can drink yourself into oblivion (something actually illegal in the real world) so long as you don't take it into the hallway. Is there any reason other than control for this very liberal rule on this most conservative of all campuses? I'll save you some time — no.
The worst part of this is that there are some students who are so submerged in the myth, so contained by the system, that they actually think the University's public relations moves (Flipstock, telling kids to stay on campus and RA meetings) are genuine efforts to stop the drinking. It's hilarious to read.
I personally can't stand the idea that what I write in this column might get me kicked out of school because I "have no right to free speech on this campus," as I was informed late last year by a University official. Worse yet is that we are claiming to be a legitimate upper-tier institution of higher learning, and our "select" students really couldn't care less about the First Amendment, a fundamental of the American collegiate experience.
Why, you ask? Mostly because every time some sort of actual campus activism starts up, the alcohol policy goes under review and all the participants cower like sheep. This is because so many have been convinced that both the only way to socialize and the only way to achieve solace in an environment so clenched up by 15th century rules, is to drink. The preservation of this free ability to drink therefore is of the utmost importance. Therein lies the power.
I hope I have not come off as being too anti-drinking. That is not the case at all. I have no problem whatsoever with drinking. My problem lies in the attitude that at least a few Notre Dame students have that fun cannot occur absent alcohol. Or worse, that normal social interaction cannot occur absent alcohol.
This breeds alumni like the ones I saw at Nebraska: completely drunk, irresponsible, fighting amongst themselves and screaming obscenities across the stadium. They were an embarrassment to themselves, their families and the University from which they graduated. Their behavior was cultivated here, where they thought they learned that the only way to have fun at a football game is when you are completely hammered. Now that is a failing attempt at being socially adept.
John Litle is a junior MIS major whose entire family (including extended relatives) has warned him not to write this column. The opinions expressed herein, therefore, do not reflect on his family or upbringing unless it is in a good way. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Tuesday, September 11, 2001