This past week the Daily Illini editorial board published an open letter to parents about Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day. The open letter was in response to a letter that Chancellor Herman sent to parents regarding the dangers of Unofficial. The chancellor’s letter advises parents to tell their children to act responsibly and in their own interests. The DI’s editorial board, however, felt that this letter was condescending. How dare the Chancellor mail a letter to our parents about our drinking habits? Shouldn’t the university treat its students like the adults they are expected to be? The letter, supposedly on behalf of the student population, expressed resentment for being treated like children.
The problem is, students participating in Unofficial are acting like children. How can you expect to be treated with respect when you are waking up at 7 a.m. for kegs ‘n’ eggs? It’s hard to take anyone seriously when his or her tongues are green from beer. Though, I agree that the university should address students more directly about events like Unofficial, it is difficult to justify such drinking bouts.
Yet, the DI tried. Their justification for Unofficial was weak at best, probably because there is no justification. When they say, “with experience comes knowledge,” are they referring to the experience of drinking for hours on end? If that’s the case, then what is the knowledge that one acquires from such experience? It is surely not an “initiation into the real world.” If the “real world” is one of binge drinking and vomiting on the street, then sure Unofficial is a great gateway into adulthood. But the reality is that many college students are living in a bubble of irresponsible drinking without the consequences. I’ve heard many a student say with a chuckle, “If I weren’t in college, my drinking would qualify me as an alcoholic.” Alcoholism isn’t funny, and how is college an excuse for a debilitating addiction?
The letter goes on to say that parents should trust in their children’s judgment. This is a wholly illogical argument. How can you appeal to judgment when you are attempting to justify a 24-hour-long drinking binge? There are certainly ways to drink responsibly, and college is the place and time to learn. However, Unofficial is not the place or time. As a marketing ploy by the bars on Green Street, the emphasis is obviously on drinking. But not just on drinking, on blacking out and forgetting the whole day. Unofficial is not a celebration of some Saint Patrick; it is a poor excuse to get wasted. So, Daily Illini, if you are trying to appeal to the sensibilities of your parents, then it would be wise to rethink the actions you are trying to justify.
(Photo by Justine Bursoni)
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