Gatepost Editorial: Please educate responsibly

In light of the rowdy parties celebrating Marathon Monday and the relatively calmer gatherings celebrating 4/20, it’s been hard for college students to avoid alcohol and drugs over the past week.

While The Gatepost’s e-Board isn’t against students having fun, we also believe student safety is the most important element of a healthy college community.

When considering the amount of alcohol that students drank last Monday, based on the reporting done in the article titled “A marathon inside a marathon,” and the fact that many of those students were underage, what initially seems like a harmless good time becomes much more alarming.

Many freshmen aren’t exposed to large parties before coming to college, and may not understand their alcohol limit. This could easily land even moderate student party-goers in situations where they are vulnerable to danger from themselves, others or even from alcohol poisoning.

The Gatepost conducted a survey this semester about drug use on campus, which found that three fourths of the 400 students surveyed have smoked marijuana. About one fourth of the 400 students surveyed smoke marijuana once a month or more.

About one third of the students surveyed bought marijuana on campus.

The Campus Police logs from September 2014 to April 22, 2015 document 37 narcotic investigations, which were called in because of a smell complaint – yet only eight of them were issued civil citations.

The Health Center conducts regular surveys to find out about student drug use. The survey the office conducted a year ago found similar results to The Gatepost survey – yet few initiatives have been put into place in that year to educate students about safety.

Whether anybody wants to admit it or not, students are drinking and smoking marijuana – and they’re doing it on campus. And yet, little is being done about it.

Even with the dry campus policy in place, ignoring the presence of alcohol and drugs on campus, and the dangers that come with them, is highly irresponsible.

Somewhere between the image of a substance-free campus and the reality that these findings prove, we need to be developing a middle ground.

Educating is of course not the same as condoning.

Educational programs are essential and should perhaps even be mandatory to teach students realities behind party culture in college, rather than simply saying, “Don’t do drugs.”

The incoming freshmen do complete an AlcoholEdu program before and after their first semester, but based on The Gatepost’s survey results and the culture surrounding alcohol in college, more clearly needs to be done.

Marijuana and alcohol seem to be more prevalent and easily accessible than ever – and many students, in a culture which celebrates these substances, may forget the potential dangers they pose and their damaging long-term effects.

In order for students to make responsible decisions, it’s essential that they’re provided with resources and information that will help them stay safe.

On a college campus, information and education should be more easily available than drugs are.

Please educate responsibly.

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