The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Four years in review: Questioning revised alcohol policy

Observer Viewpoint | Friday, May 13, 2005

Student Affairs, wake up.

Guess what students are going to do on those weekends when they would have been dancing, drinking and spending time with friends at in-hall dances?

Drinking. A lot. Probably even more, out of spite of their social lives being robbed from their shot-glass holding hands.

Alcohol does not run the life of your average Notre Dame student. But it can add to the flavor of his or her social life. And Notre Dame students are not alcoholics (or, at least, not the majority of the drinking population). Notre Dame students do enjoy drinking. And the majority of those who drink do learn – albeit, some, the hard way – where to find the balance, clear the blur between having fun and having your stomach pumped.

Canceling dances is not going to stop students from drinking, or even dancing. Parties will proliferate. Students just won’t need to dress up or buy silly little gifts for dates. And some dorms, as The Observer’s March 19 editorial noted, will lose out on their most planned, most fun events of the year. For an institution so in love with tradition and its sense of community, Notre Dame is doing the ironic feat of killing two birds with one stone.

Notre Dame students’ definition of tailgate: pre-game bonanza of music, food, fun and yes, drink.

Notre Dame administrator’s definition of tailgate: pre-game bonanza of debauchery of crazed, alcoholic students out to puke and oh, probably have sex later. It must be stopped.

And congratulations; once you make legal-age students register for the tailgating, that’s exactly what will happen. All the legal students (whom will have moved off campus, rightly so) will spend Saturday mornings in their apartments chugging beer and all the hard alcohol they’d like. Some of my greatest football memories come from tailgating with friends and I can only pity those poor kids who will never know the pure joy of the 12 o’clock shotgun.

Take away our dances, our tailgates and what do you have? Thousands of embittered students looking for something to do on those often boring spring weekends in South Bend. Overanxious rectors ready to jump down the throats of students who might otherwise be sending vodka the same route. And, of course, thousands of alumni like myself who are grateful they graduated before the storm.

You’ve not only taken away dances and tailgating, you’ve stripped away freedom and a sense of responsibility. How do you expect your students to grow, mature and make their own informed judgments without giving them the opportunity to do so?

Notre Dame students and administrators alike have always boasted a feeling of “family.” And while this is a very special aspect of Notre Dame, you are not our mothers and fathers. College is where we become adults and learn to decide for ourselves. Don’t decide for us.

Christine Kralyclass of 2001Washington, D.C.March 19, 2002