In response to questions about the university’s responsibility in alcohol education, Texas A&M announced in an email Tuesday that alcohol education will cease to be a part of Fish Camp and New Student Conferences. Many have argued that informing students of the dangers of alcohol and demonstrating responsible consumption will encourage more students to drink responsibly, some for the first time. Opponents of alcohol education claim the university has no place telling its students about something that is the parent’s right to teach.
Karen Page of the Dallas Aggie Mom’s Club said, “The only acceptable thing for the university to encourage is abstinence. It is the responsibility of the parent to decide what their child should learn about. I’m sure sometime soon my child will be ready to discuss it eventually. I meant to get around to it, but I just get so busy!” Page admits that she is by no means qualified to explain or knowledgeable at all of the dangers of consuming alcohol.
Others claim that if students lack a proper education about alcohol consumption, they lack the knowledge to prevent things like peer pressure or morning sickness. Junior BIMS major Ottis Toole said, “If students lack an education of responsible drinking, then how is it any surprise that people could misunderstand consent when drinking with someone else? Yeah, no one is going to pour a drink down someone’s throat, but if they aren’t taught the legal definition, can we blame them for not understanding the situation? Some people don’t realize pressuring someone into drinking while they’ve already had a few drinks isn’t consensual. Others don’t realize that halfway through the cup, they can chose to stop with no obligation to keep drinking. I’m just saying, if you have to talk someone into drinking, then you probably shouldn’t be drinking with them in the first place.”
Toole, a member of the Corps of Cadets, attends a presentation on the topics at hand once a semester, and agreed that having a strong education in what consent and alcohol consumption looks like benefits everyone. Supporters of proactively teaching students agree that while students may generally understand the basics of alcohol safety, parents often avoid discussing the gray areas with their children.
“I drink with other guys,” said a freshman who asked to remain anonymous. “I obviously couldn’t tell my parents that, and even if I could, there isn’t any way they could have provided me with advice on how to drink safely with other guys.”
Texas A&M encourages all parents to get around to discussing this sensitive topic with their young Aggies, before sending them to live on their own with a thousand new things to try and a tempting bar district bordering campus.
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