Mixed messages?

The University of Iowa holds a licensing agreement with Anheuser-Busch that allows the beverage company to use the University’s logo in its advertising so long as the ads include a message about drinking responsibly. The sponsorship will contribute  $114M to UI’s athletic department by 2026 and will provide $43K for the school’s alcohol harm reduction program this year.

The recently-renewed contract has been met with opposition by those who feel that UI being sponsored by an alcoholic beverage company sends a mixed message to students. Students interviewed for the story by The Daily Iowan conceded that they are confused by the school’s stance on alcohol. Freshman Mitchell Coleman said,

…sometimes [I] think that the UI is completely against all drinking but then other times [I] gets the message that if students do choose to drink they should have it under control.

Others are less confused and argue that receiving funding from Anheuser-Busch is a poor decision. Jeffery Cox, a professor and member of the UI’s Presidential Committee on Athletics claims,

This beer sponsorship decision undermines our ability to defend the integrity of the athletics program to the public and diverts attention from the good things about college athletics…

While time will tell what the total effect will be on student drinking, the University choose to take a proactive stance by surveying students for their actual perceptions. The survey will be used as baseline data and compared to future surveys to determine the effect of alcohol sponsorships on campus binge drinking.

Readers, what do you think? Students, have you been surveyed for something like this before?

One Response to “Mixed messages?”

  1. Edwin Bonilla Says:

    Sponsorship of a university’s atlethics by a beer corporation or company shouldn’t have a more than small impact on how the students drink alcohol. All universities and colleges should take this lesson. The lesson is that prohibitionary laws and rules take attention away from alcohol responsibility because then, priority is placed on keeping alcohol away for any purpose. As a result, the University of Iowa should have a higher priority regarding responsible drinking and not being against “any type of drinking.” The survey which the university does helps in this regard. I encourage all universities and colleges to stop the culture of binge drinking without using the ageist drinking age as a strategy to do so. Universities which have a sponsorship with a beer corporation should make their atlethics not overshawdowed by advertisement.