Take it from this Morgantown criminal defense lawyer who deals with a lot of DUI defense: There is indeed such a thing as “kids being kids.” But that also means kids will take things too far. As an attorney who graduated from West Virginia University, and one who now routinely represents WVU students for college crimes such as public intoxication, underage drinking, and driving under the influence, I’ve seen it happen too many times. But let’s face it: WVU has long had the reputation of being a party school.
And recent headlines about a student dying after a night of drinking at a frat house there have only made the conversation more present. And I think that’s a good thing. At one point, the university suspended all Greek activity, and since, there have been news stories about students there wanting to change the so-called “culture of alcohol” on campus. I applaud the effort and believe strongly in learning about the effects of alcohol. A recent DUI defendant I spoke with recently told me about how valuable she found the required alcohol-safety class. She said she never really understood how long alcohol stayed in the system – and how many times she likely and unknowingly drove drunk the day after a particularly hard day of partying. She said she also really had little idea of how the blood-alcohol content was calculated, or how many drinks in what amount of time really amounted to a .08 percent (the point at which you are legally driving drunk).
But another university, Dartmouth, (one also known for its party its party-school image – you might recall that the movie Animal House revolved around the antics of a frat there) announced just yesterday that it was taking another measure to curb excessive partying there: By banning hard liquor. The university’s president on Thursday announced this as part of a larger effort to stop pervading forces such as alcohol abuse and sexual assault on campus – one that includes the prohibition of pledges or probation periods at student groups. I look forward to seeing what happens in the wake of this decision. Will educational institutions such as WVU and others adopt similar bans? Will the ban work? I will wait and see – but would love your opinion, too. Parents? Students? What do you think?