Don’t Ignore That We Drink at NDSU

opinion

The North Dakota State community doesn’t need a front page to discover the drinking culture existing in our fair city. For proof, just mosey over to the NDSU Bookstore and buy an official Bison beverage koozie.

Koozies keep your pop cold, freshmen.

Fargo, that heathenish city, fosters its drinking identity because God blessed our Lutheran livers with the stamina to endure Mug, Iced Tea and Ladies’ Nights all before Friday morning. We rank near the top of national “most drunken” lists annually.  

We rarely rank atop of anything, ever. Please, let us have this.

NDSU, however, is dry, though claiming to be the driest parcel in Fargo doesn’t denote a desert. Our campus isn’t as arid as policy posits.

We drink. One of the most common crimes committed at NDSU is minors in possession or consumption. The most recent campus survey on alcohol and drug use found students consuming alcohol at higher frequencies than the national average. The Turf may be out of commission, but that isn’t stopping us.

Refusing to acknowledge these habits is to choose to live in a stuporous state of denial. And denial and ignorance lead to further issues. What happens when minors are sexually assaulted at a house party they shouldn’t be at? How do we know if minors need their stomach pumped, again? Can’t they just sleep it off?

Tooshfest isn’t bad, though it isn’t a shining example of healthy drinking habits, either. The party instead serves as an honest snapshot of the culture, albeit unabashedly.

To be clear: we do not condone nor condemn those who enjoy a brew or two or more whilst mud wrestling. There’s nothing inherently wrong with alcohol when consumed responsibly and in relative moderation. 

What we do not care for is the aura that alcohol culture takes on because of its taboo nature at NDSU (and elsewhere in America). We shouldn’t be closet drinkers. Drinking in secrecy is dangerous.

Alcohol isn’t the problem; it’s our hush-hush response to our consumption patterns, pretending that prohibition works. This is Uncle Sam calling to President Bresciani and the State Board of Higher Education: it doesn’t work, over and out.

NDSU football games show how foolish this prohibition is. Basically, Bison fans hellbent on being buzzed on a Saturday while watching football (what a blasphemous concept) binge drink in the parking lot before heading into the dry Fargodome. Do they sober up once inside this dry facility? Many do, sure, but many don’t, smuggling in flasks and shooters in belts and bras.

To wish that all fans sober themselves up during the game is fantasy, so instead pick your favored scenario: an environment in which alcohol consumption is openly regulated by distributors, or one in which fans abuse liquor covertly in bathroom stalls. 

To be fair, NDSU acknowledges aspects of our drinking problem. The President’s Council on Alcohol & Other Drug Policies claims on its website not to seek the elimination “of alcohol, but rather to significantly reduce the high-risk use that leads to problems for individuals in the community.”

It’s a catch-22, though, because the prohibitive policies in place further increase the high-risk patterns.

Disclaimer: This newspaper goes alcohol-free in our advertising a few times a year, in accordance with the council. We do so, in part, in order to let NDSU departments and other campus organizations advertise with us when they wouldn’t be able to do so otherwise.

It’s messy because of the complexities of the situation.

Repealing prohibition at NDSU, of course, will not solve all of our issues, but perhaps it would shine light on such a taboo situation.

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