Editorial: Potential rational developments in NU attitudes toward alcohol

Daily Northwestern

In the last week, Northwestern students have seen several indications that the University administration might be considering a more reasonable attitude toward alcohol on campus. Last Saturday, the senior class hosted an BYOB tailgate in the Sheridan and Library parking lot and at Tuesday night’s Community Conversation, some Evanston residents expressed considerable support for the university hosting more events of this kind in the future, with the thought that if drinking happens on campus, it won’t happen in the neighborhoods where parties will bother residents.

Additionally, today the Interfraternity Council will share a final draft of a proposal to grant fraternities on campus wet status to members of the Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs. Authors of the proposal seem fairly confident that this proposition, which is phase one of a two-phase proposal which could eventually grant fraternities the ability to hold BYOB events and events where third-party vendors sell beer and wine, could be successfully passed by he administration.

The fact is, neither the tailgate nor the IFC proposal is a big deal. At the tailgate, theoretically no one under the age of 21 was drinking, and only wine and beer were permitted. Phase one of the IFC proposal would only extend to fraternity houses the same alcohol rules that NU dorms currently have – a 21-year-old resident would allowed to keep a personal supply of beer or wine in their room. And even the later phase of the proposal would only permit beer and wine to be consumed in fraternity houses by people of legal age. But even though these policies don’t seem especially ground-breaking or controversial, The Daily believes that the University opening its eyes to the possibility of wet fraternity houses and BYOB events for legal-age students shows an important and very rational development in the University administration’s attitude toward alcohol on campus. Additionally, we believe such developments could have a positive impact on the drinking culture at NU, especially in the case of the second phase of the IFC proposal, because older members of fraternities would shoulder some of the responsibility for making sure that these events were conducted according to the rules.

The fact is that at any given time, more than one quarter of all undergraduate students are over the age of 21 so as long as events are held with the proper regulations and in the proper places, it is not unreasonable or immoral for the University to acknowledge that alcohol is part of the social life of a significant percentage of students.