“World’s Largest Cocktail Party” going underground?

“‘It’s not shocking enough (to keep students from drinking again), but it’s definitely a different kind of experience,’ Short said,” after the freshman at the University of Georgia spent a night in jail for underage drinking. Recent news out of the University of Georgia show that arrests for underage drinking did not decrease this past year following the communities tougher alcohol policies. While administrators of Georgia’s largest university have sought to curtail their image as a party school—famous for the “world’s largest cocktail party”— their policies of stricter enforcement and tougher penalties have had little effect. The idea behind the administration’s push was that if penalties were harsh enough freshman, sophomores, and juniors at UGA would warm up to the fact that for them alcohol is illegal, and that this would make them stop drinking. It failed. This should come as no surprise. When as few as 2 out of every 1000 underage drinkers are ever punished, even large increases in enforcement cannot provide sufficient deterrence for those illegal behaviors. Administrators of the university ought to reassess their draconian policies, because ultimately they only push behavior farther off campus and deeper underground. And while this “out of sight out of mind” mentality is pleasing to the eye, it can do little to improve the drinking culture on campus. Sadly, when it comes to irresponsible drinking it may only be making things worse.

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