Alcohol for Rich Football Fans?

According to this morning's News and Observer, UNC is considering allowing alcohol in the new private suites and club boxes being added as part of the Kenan Stadium renovation. It's just an idea at this point and could be achieved through sales or BYO. Ironically, less than 2 months ago, the Daily Tar Heel reported that student alcohol poisonings on campus has 'grown rapidly in the past few years.'

Fifty-one cases of student alcohol poisoning were reported last school year, up from 28 in the 2007-08 school year and three the year before, according to data collected by the Office of the Dean of Students.

EMS has already reported 23 cases to the office as of Oct. 1 this semester.

The data is based solely on cases that required EMS assists, said Dean Blackburn, assistant dean of students. Victims of alcohol poisoning who live off campus do not always appear in the report.

Chapel Hill police cited the increase in alcohol poisonings as reason for their increased enforcement of alcohol violations.

Following the environmental management method, developed by the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention,  UNC has taken proactive measures to eliminate or at least reduce this trend of alcohol abuse. So is this new plan to allow alcohol for the rich at football games counter-productive?

"I acknowledge there's a philosophical issue, and I acknowledge it's a change in what our policy has been," said Dick Baddour, UNC-CH's athletics director. "I don't see it as out of step with what you find in arenas all across the country." (News & Observer, 12-6-09)

Is the fact that other campuses do this an acceptable justification for providing a message counter to the efforts to reduce student abuse?



Does anyone honestly believe that allowing alcohol in these luxury boxes will impact drinking among students before, during or after games or on campus in general in any way?  If students want to drink they will.  The solution to decreasing alcohol abuse among college students is not prohibition it is education. 

"Money, honey If you want to get along with me."Elvis Presley

Money.  It's the same reason you can still smoke in Country Clubs but not in bars.  Some rules don't apply to rich people, especially when they are the ones making the rules.

At their new airport or at the old one. Maybe they can put a helipad on top of the luxury boxes.I don't think it says much about student drinking, but it does let you know who the football games are really for.I think it's ridiculous that the players aren't paid. They could get part of the parking too. 

There's a letter from Ronald E. Bogle. a retired Superior Court judge who works with the Coalition for Alcohol and Drug Free Teenagers, in this morning's Herald Sun. He sums up my concerns quite elegantly:

Though the present policy (of no alcohol at University sporting events) seems not to have interfered with fan support
in the past, athletic department officials express the dubious notion
that fans may be less inclined to partake in luxury accommodations
unless alcohol is present.With binge drinking, alcohol-related
poisonings and student deaths at their highest level, UNC is making a
concerted effort to address campus alcohol problems. Altering policy,
making economic considerations paramount, is inconsistent with those
efforts. It's certain that the solution for university economic woes
won't be found in allowing more alcohol on campus.With an
existing serious alcohol abuse problem, what message does this send to
students when university officials declare that adults cannot even sit
through a sports event without drinking alcohol?While declaring
to students that responsible adult life is not defined by alcohol
consumption, this contradictory proposal goes in the wrong direction.
Worse, it potentially undermines efforts to win student support for, or
confidence in, other university prevention efforts.Athletic
Director Dick Baddour defends this proposal as consistent with other
collegiate sports venues. This reminds one of the parental admonition,
"If your friends asked you to join them in jumping off of a cliff,
would you follow?" Bad decisions by other universities are not examples
worth following, and most universities embrace our current policy.

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