…On Alcohol

According to the Princeton Review, the University of Colorado atBoulder, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, IndianaUniversity, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign andWashington and Lee University are respectively the top five partyschools in the country. St. John’s University is nowhere on thatlist.

Though our school has been transformed with the addition ofresidence halls, the community and administration have met eachchallenge as it arisen. As a dry campus, St. John’s has controlledthe problem of excessive drinking by restricting it completely.However establishments near and around Union Turnpike are notrequired to follow our prohibition. It is perfectly legal andreasonable that businesses around St. John’s University cater tostudents who are over the age of 21, many of which read TheTorch.

The Torch does not promote alcohol abuse. In fact the editors ofThe Torch have met with members of the community to listen toconcerns, and we continue to make ourselves available on thesubject. Nor does The Torch promote underage drinking. Anyadvertisement for an establishment that serves alcohol must beaccompanied by the words “21 and over.”

While The Torch is sensitive to the concerns over alcohol, weare a business supported by advertisements, whether they arepurchased by Student Government or by legitimate businesses withinthe community. We feel that the advertisements that appear in TheTorch are tasteful and that they do not conflict with theUniversity’s mission. We can and have refused advertisements thatdid not meet our criteria.

Not all businesses maintain the decorum observed by The Torchand its clients. Sexually explicit and suggestive flyersadvertising clubs and bars are commonplace on the St. John’scampus. Outnumbered only by advertisements for term paper-writingservices (which The Torch also condemns), they are scattered inclassrooms, stairwells, hallways and bathrooms. They are evenslipped underneath the doors of students’ homes in the ResidenceVillage.

Any effort to alleviate excessive drinking is best served byfighting these intrusive and parasitic marketing campaigns. Theyare completely self-serving, benefiting neither the students of St.John’s University nor the surrounding community. Targetinglegitimate businesses that support student activities misdirectswell-intentioned vigor that could be better used elsewhere.

Binge drinking and the high-risk behavior that results from itare legitimate problems that must be assessed and controlled.Restricting advertisements within The Torch rather than workingwith community boards or tracking down rogue advertisers is aninefficient way to approach this issue.