Wet or dry?

By Vaughn Olson. Published April 25, 2011.

The policy of McKendree University prevents any person, regardless of age, from bringing alcohol on campus. This is and has been for numerous years a very big debate at most universities. Many people argue that the campus at McKendree University is essentially “wet” already. It is no secret that many students drink in the dormitory buildings or that they can easily meander a short distance from campus to a party. There are many benefits on both sides of this debate and because of this, it should be looked at as a more logical argument.

McKendree University will probably never be a “wet” campus and that is for a couple of reasons.
When asked for his opinion on this topic Dr. Folk, professor at McKendree University, said “McKendree is affiliated with the Methodist tradition, which is most definitely non-alcoholic”.
I am not an expert on the Methodist religion myself, however; after doing some research it is evident that the Methodist Church requires its members to abstain from alcohol for life. Seeing as McKendree has such strong ties with this church, it would be very frowned upon if the campus allowed alcohol on campus.
This debate really began around the year 1986 after the legal drinking age was changed from 19 to 21. This change was very important, seeing as most college students are below the age of 21. Making a campus “wet” does not mean that the underage students will then be allowed to drink. It is still illegal for these students to consume alcohol and this is why most campuses remain “dry”.
According to Dr. Folk, “Illinois law sets drinking age at 21, and most of our students are below that age, so the simplest answer is to keep the campus alcohol-free”. This is a very good point seeing as the majority of students that are 21 and older live off campus anyway.
St. Louis University, which is very close to McKendree, has a wet campus and has seen benefits from this. It serves alcohol at designated areas around campus, these areas are typically lounges similar to a bar, and the students that are of age are allowed to drink here. Alcohol is only permitted on campus in these areas that have been approved by the school. This prevents older students from providing underage students with alcohol. Most campuses, regardless of if they are dry or wet, have differing aspects of their alcohol policies.
However, there are negatives as well to having a dry campus. If a student decides to drink off campus, even if they are of age, they still need to get back to campus eventually. Having a dry campus causes many more people to drink and drive. Even in a small town such as Lebanon bad things can happen from drinking and driving. If a person is pulled over for driving under the influence, they can face serious consequences from the law. In addition to these consequences they are risking their life.
Another negative aspect of having a dry campus is that if a student consumes too much alcohol and needs to go to the hospital, students are worried to call 911. They know that if they call 911, they may get in trouble and this tends to prevent them from making the phone call. If the campus was wet, the students would be less scared to call for help and this could save many students.
In the end it is probably the most simple to remain a dry campus, even though both have their benefits. Many students have strong feelings one way or the other however maybe those students should choose which college to attend based on the alcohol policy. The primary use of college is to obtain a higher level of education and because of this, the alcohol policy shouldn’t be too important. McKendree University will most likely be alcohol-free; however, this issue shouldn’t be too big of a deal for students because they should focus more on academics.

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