On the Daily Beast, Harvard student Isabel Kaplan—she published her first novel already—writes about Harvard’s policy to encourage people who are hammered intoxicated to visit University Health Services with no fear of punishment.
As other colleges and universities crack down on underage drinking, Harvard and many other elite schools are trying to do with their alcohol policies what they do with their students: Make them smarter. This has often meant a less penalty-driven attitude toward alcohol, and policies that emphasize to students that they will not get in trouble if they reach out for help.
But the efforts, whether they’re working or not, are having an effect that could make some parents squirm….
Apparently more people are showing up totally wasted inebriated at UHS, which leads Kaplan to wonder if Harvard’s tolerance is actually encouraging drinking. More likely, her article points out, is the possibility that people are drinking no more than they were before, but they are more willing to seek medical attention.
This sounds to me like a good policy, and I think Kaplan feels the same way….
At Harvard, at least, reducing the harm means literally teaching students how to make a drink correctly. Later on in that meeting I attended, the DAPA placed an empty blue plastic Solo cup on the table and next to it, a Nalgene bottle filled with water. He asked for volunteers to try and pour one drink—12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of hard alcohol. The point was to teach us what one drink looks like, so that when we’re at parties, we wouldn’t fill a cup with half rum and half Coke and call that one drink.
Sort of like giving condoms to kids, right? If you’re going to do it, do it safely.