Regarding Advertisements

To the Editor:

Members of the St. John’s University Counseling Center, part ofSt. John’s University Alcohol and Other Drug Task Force, areconcerned about an advertising trend in past issues of The Torch(Oct. 8, 15 & 29), which promotes high risk drinking behaviors.Specifically, we want to highlight the advertisements for the ViperInternet Caf� & Lounge and the “Donkey Show.”

Establishments that advertise “Ladies drink free from 9 to 11″or “Ladies drink 1/2 price,” or $1.00 beer prices, do this not tohelp students make healthy choices, but to increase their sales andrevenue.

The very positive review of the “Donkey Show,” Musicalintroduces Shakespeare to disco, by Magda Podlecka and LizaJulfaian (Oct. 29, 2003) is also a way of promoting high-riskalcohol use and the negative consequences that may occur.Statements such as “Equipped with a DJ playing ’70’s disco hits anda colorful cast of scantily clad fairies, the show solidifiesitself as an ultimate entertainment experience…the audience isencouraged to interact with the performance by dancing and drinkingbefore, during and after the show.”

What concerns us is the well-documented chain of causality thatoccurs when there is the ability to get more alcohol for lessmoney. The National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse citenationwide surveys that show increased negative consequences as adirect result of excessive alcohol use. Statistics such as 1,400college students between the ages of 18-24 die each year fromalcohol-related unintentional injuries; 70,000 college studentsbetween the ages of 18-24 are victims of alcohol related assault ordate rape each year; 500,000 college students between the ages of18-24 are unintentionally injured each year while under theinfluence, should be an eye opener to the impact of high riskdrinking.

By providing a venue for these establishments, we feel The Torchis also taking a stand that endorses these negative consequences.What The Torch should be promoting, and what will benefit ourstudents more is not where and how they can obtain alcohol or thatthe use of alcohol will provide “an ultimate entertainmentexperience”; but by choosing situations that do not promote highrisk alcohol use, the only consequence will be the ability to fullyremember and enjoy their “ultimate experience.”

Dorothy Schmitt, MS, NCC
Assistant Director
Counseling Center

Ruth E. DeRosa, ACSW
Counseling Center