Military-style checkpoints, email campaigns, and Jezebel features, oh my.
Maybe you thought the administration would reign in its attempts to stop Tour de Franzia after being publicly skewered everywhere from MSN to Gawker-owned feminist snarkfest Jezebel to something calling itself “BroBible.” You were wrong. If anything, after begging your parents to stop the mayhem, the powers that be have only stepped up their game, going so far as to email all faculty, have RAs set up military-style checkpoints outside student dorms on the night of the Tour, and threaten to slap students with six judicial points for, uh, “wearing costumes.” Don’t be mad! They’re just trying to keep you safe! Tour de Franzia is dangerous!
Anyway, here’s your definitive guide to everything you’ve been wondering about What the Fuck is the Administration Doing About Tour de Franzia This Year.
Q: When’s Tour de Franzia? How will I find out about it? Is it even happening this year?
A: Who knows, but probably. There’s no fixed date, but in recent years it has occurred during one of the last weekends of the semester. It’s typically announced by an anonymous Facebook profile, “WesParty Guy” (which is deactivated when not in use), as well as via word of mouth and mass texts. There won’t be a Facebook event or whatever, especially after the Great Facebook Event Crackdown of 2010.
Remember that petition by a lot of American college presidents to lower the legal drinking age? The New York Times editorial board takes a break from being generally socially liberal to say that this is a bad, irresponsible idea, because college drinking culture is the real problem:
Certainly, surreptitious drinking can lead to excessive drinking, but that does not justify the college executives’ conclusion that “21 is not working” where binge drinking is concerned. Europe, often cited as an example of controlled use of alcohol by younger people, has binge drinking problems. France, which has long allowed drinking for 16-year-olds, is debating raising the age.
The 21-year-old floor is not the problem. It is the culture of drinking at school.
Thoughts, underage alkies?
A Friday article on Inside Higher Ed details the latest steps a number of institutions nationwide are taking in an attempt to crack down on binge drinking. Yale, Penn, UMass, and NESCAC peer Tufts have all banned drinking games outright. The University of Florida, which was recently named the #1 party school in the country in the Princeton Review’s 2009 rankings, is taking it a step further and attempting to extend this ban to beyond Gainesville:
Under newly proposed regulations, Florida students — on or off the campus — would be prohibited from “excessive rapid consumption” of alcohol. The policy specifically bars “drinking games,” as well as “alcohol luges,” which are carved ice blocks that serve as frozen pathways for liquor shots.
Patricia Telles-Irvin, Florida’s vice president for student affairs, said the university’s existing regulations were already designed to curb binge drinking. The proposed changes, however, are meant to target specific high-risk drinking activities, she said.
The regulations also forbid keg standing, an acrobatic drinking feat where students are inverted over a keg, with legs held aloft, as they guzzle straight from a tap.
“This generation really wants us to be more specific, and we’re trying to be as clear as possible about what we mean,” Telles-Irvin said.
Inside Higher Ed: “Game Over“
Apparently there was a big Connecticut-wide summit meeting here on Monday – representatives from 20 colleges came to Wes to discuss what to do about “the drinking culture that infuses so much of campus life,” says the Hartford Courant.
“Have we solved the problem? Not yet,” said Walter Bernstein, vice president of Western Connecticut State University. “But I am convinced that the first step toward solving the problem is admitting that a problem exists.”
Like a true alcoholic anonymous! Seriously, though:
The statistics are startling: About half of all college students in the U.S. binge drink or abuse drugs.
One quarter of them meet the medical criteria for drug or alcohol dependency, compared with about 8.5 percent of the general population. And college women, though they lag behind their male peers in terms of alcohol consumption, are catching up fast.
Those are the findings of a 2005 study conducted by the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.
Our chief executive gets some words in – “It is ‘part and parcel of our mission,’ said Wesleyan President Michael Roth. ‘You cannot learn the things you need to learn as a college student if you continue on a path’ of unhealthy behavior, he said.”
Uh you heard it kids, don’t do anything Roth wouldn’t do!
There’s a lot of folk wisdom out there about different levels of tolerance associated with binge drinking (officially defined as more than 5 drinks in 24 hours), and how this reflects on resulting idiocy, but as it happens it is in fact all relative, as shown in today’s Science Times. Behavior after excessive drinking is highly variable across cultures and societal groups.
According to sociological studies done in the ’60s, the Yuruna Indians in the Xingu region of Brazil would become “exceptionally reserved” after a lot of moonshine. The Camba of eastern Bolivia, who would drink excessively twice a month, just kept toasting each other more extravagantly with each successive drink.
In the Japanese island village of Takashima, people considered a drinking occasion out of control when villagers started to sing or dance, but violent or sexual aggression when drunk was unheard of. Contrast this to Spring Break in Cancun.
In a series of studies in the ’80s, University of Washington psychologists put 300 students in a room decorated like a bar and served icy vodka tonics to one group and icy tonic water to the other – both drinks looked and tasted the same, and most students drank around five within two hours. The ones given the placebo acted exactly as they expected to when drunk, and one participant in the study who was unwittingly given alcohol refused to believe it, since she wasn’t flushed as she usually got when drunk. When the researchers told her that she was in fact drinking alcohol, she immediately flushed.
Peer groups can also have an influence. New Zealand researcher studied two cliques of high school girls, both of which rightly associated drinking with uninhibited behavior. But while one group considered it uninhibited to just make out, the other group extended the definition uh, much further.
So, you pretty much behave as badly as you expect to when you’ve had one too many. Don’t just blame the liquor for the physical and emotional havoc you wreaked last weekend, you alky, it’s your sociocultural threshold of inhibition.