Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Remember how I criticized Harvard for its amoral attitude towards drinking on campus? Well, I take it back! (kind of...) Breaking news: the Dean of the college just landed a major blow against campus debauchery. There was this ridiculous program called the Party Grant in which the student council took money from all students as a so-called 'activities fee' and redistributed it to a handful of students to throw parties in their rooms every weekend. Yep, instead of encouraging individual students to save or earn money to finance their own fun, the student council decided to take money from everyone and redistribute it so a few kids could have some real kick-ass parties, free of charge. Because, let's admit it, there's nothing more fun than throwing a huge party, passing out drinks to all your friends, maybe getting some action, and having it all be on the house. And we wonder why college kids vote Democrat.

Well . . . last call, baby, last call: "the UC Party Grant program is inherently flawed, and must be ended immediately. From this date forward no further funds can be dispersed for private parties, including any that may have already been approved for forthcoming dates." You know that hot girl from section? Well, drunken anonymous sex is still almost certainly in your future, but now you'll have to find someone besides the student body to pay for her booze!

So why did the Dean shut the program down? As you might have guessed, underage drinking was not exactly frowned upon at these gatherings. In fact, not only were underaged drinkers allowed into the parties without any problems, they were often even hosts and given money directly by the student council to buy alcohol. This angle, the underaged drinking, is the excuse the Dean chose. Personally, I'm not against underaged drinking per se, as opposed to primitive debauchery in general, but I understand that in this day and age there is no way a responsible adult could ever chide immature children for immoral behavior without getting tarred and feathered, so if he has to chose the underaged angle, so be it.

When not focused on the legalistic approach, the Dean takes the second refuge of the would-be moralist in our amoral age: health. "[I]t is quite apparent," he writes, "that the UC Party Grant program, in practice, has funded parties where the focus is on drinking. Alcohol abuse is the number one student health concern at Harvard as it is on other campuses nationwide. We have taken many proactive steps to mitigate the harm that results from high-risk drinking and have also tried to develop spaces on campus where students can socialize with alcohol safely and legally. The UC Party Grant program is at odds with the message that students, parents, faculty and administrative leaders of this community should be sending about responsible and safe alcohol use." Like I said, I'll take what I can get, but this health b.s. - the same tack people today take with cigarettes - is such a pathetic, infantile cop-out.

The third angle, and one I am more sympathetic to, is the aforementioned issue of the few vs. the many: "I also would like you to consider recommitting your funds for uses that will benefit the majority of students who are members of student organizations. [...] Failing to fund groups because resources have been diverted to individuals for parties is not in support of the greater good of the students you represent, not in keeping with your mission, and not the intended purpose of these funds." I'm actually against funding for groups, I think there should be no activities fee at all and each student should be able to keep his money to do with as he pleases, but hey, baby steps.

All in all, though, a wonderful decision and I couldn't be happier. Well, I take that back - I soon became a great deal happier when I read all the incredulous emails from shocked and furious students! Tasing, it seems, is far from the worst thing you could do to a college student. Don't take away my beer money, bro!


6ofus said...

I love your writing! Happy about the outcome but wish it were based on morality?! Clearly, you did poorly in Moral Relativism 101.

Adrian said...

thank you!