Campus Crackdowns and the Amethyst Initiative

In today’s edition of BC Heights, the independent student newspaper of Boston College, columnist Adam Feeney made note of the cool reception that BC’s new campus alcohol policy has received from students. Feeney addressed the mixed messages that our culture sends to young adults, and argued that drinking is punished in some cases and sanctioned in others. He asked, “Enforcement of laws is natural in order to provide a safer environment, but at what point does stricter enforcement backfire and cause a dangerous rerouting of behavior so as to continue the status quo without being caught?” The Amethyst Initiative is designed to address exactly that question, and to provide a forum for unique solutions to a dangerous and growing problem. Contrary to what many detractors allege, the Amethyst signatories are not trying to shirk their responsibilities – the University of Maryland is an Amethyst signatory, and the school’s recent series of successful late-night, alcohol-free events is evidence that these presidents want to address the issue in different ways. “My main goal for this event was to provide alternative late-night activities for students who are looking for something to do on a Friday night with friends that doesn’t involve alcohol,” said Katie Marzocca, an Assistant Director in Maryland’s Campus Recreation Services office. Maryland is just one of a number of Amethyst schools that are getting creative with programming in order to combat binge drinking and dangerous behavior. As Feeney said, crackdowns on alcohol consumption are band-aids that don’t address the root of the problem, and the Amethyst Initiative offers an outlet for more creative solutions.

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