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Party privileges and responsibility

Dear Eastern University students,

It has been brought to the attention of the Student Development Office that you are having fun. Please stop. Thank you.

I’m not sure how many of you read the letter concerning irresponsible drinking sent to our mailboxes, but from my observances standing in the mail room on the day of its release, I wasn’t the only one who found it irritating.

My initial reactions were pure outrage that the administration felt the need to take away my privileges!

As stated in the body of the letter, “Please understand that we are so serious about wanting you to stay safe that your uninterrupted enrollment at Eastern University will be in jeopardy if you are found in violation of community standards regarding alcohol and drugs.”

Essentially, this is saying that even if I’m at a party where there is alcohol and I’m not drinking, I am still in violation, thus endangering my academic career. But am I not becoming a stronger person by resisting the temptation of alcohol around me, instead of avoiding it completely?

The letter also stated that we should “protect ourselves from negative outcomes by making good choices.”

While I know the best choice would be to steer 100 percent clear of alcohol and drugs, is it not a good choice as well to show your character by enjoying a party without the influence of alcohol or drugs?

The letter also stated that our safety comes first and that we should let someone from resident life or Eastern Security know if we are in trouble. Sounds good, but the letter then states that anyone in violation of the policy will suffer the consequences.

Would you really want to ask for help if you knew that consequences would result? I know I wouldn’t.

All of this has sparked interesting conversations with my friends. With their support, I finally mustered up the confidence last week to confront the letter’s writer, Dean of Students Daryl Hawkins.

I asked him how not drinking at a party could hurt me just as much as drinking at that same party. His reply made sense. Even if we are not drinking, he said, we are still in the presence of underage drinking and witnesses to illegal actions.

Hawkins also said that while there is consistency in how the violations are handled, the outcomes of those violations vary depending on the specific circumstances.

While this settled some of my objections, I’m still not completely on Eastern’s level of thinking.

I admit that I’m not in any way perfect, and before I came to Eastern, I occasionally even had a drink or two. I was open and honest with Hawkins about my own experiences with alcohol.

My point, however, is that acting responsibly should account for something, and every party can provide us with valuable life experience that helps mold and shape our lives.

Kate Savo is a junior majoring in journalism.

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