Aug 222005
Authors: Megan Schulz

Last year, riots and tragic alcohol-related deaths marked CSU's fall semester. As a result, alcohol sales at Hughes Stadium were banned and this year's freshmen are subject to an online alcohol tutorial.

Attending a public university, such as our own, CSU symbolizes the beginning of higher education. To me, teaching 18-year-olds about the dangers of alcohol and partying does not represent higher education.

Most of us who attend college are considered adults, and yet CSU now feels it has to take some responsibility for our adult actions and mandate alcohol education.

After we complete high school, the state's job to teach us "life skills" is over. Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) programs and health classes should be a thing of the past. This is where parents need to pick up those responsibilities and spend the time to talk with their grown children.

It seems the online course, AlcoholEdu, was born out of a need for the university to ease the minds of thousands of parents and please the public. If this isn't the case, then why didn't we have mandated alcohol education for freshman last year before riots happened and students died?

The University of Colorado – Boulder had a similar program last year but decided to discontinue it this year.

Last fall, CU – Boulder also had a student die of alcohol-related causes. I am assuming that because the student, Gordie Bailey, was a freshman, he participated in the school's online alcohol tutorial.

Statistics and numbers would tell us that if only a small percentage of an experiment failed, then it would still be deemed successful. But real life tells us that the death of a student is one too many and too high a price to pay.

It isn't to be expected that any one program will prevent 100 percent of alcohol deaths. And yet we are still shocked when a student or students die from alcohol poisoning. I'm not familiar will CU – Boulder's administration, but I would venture a guess that they weren't planning on having a student die of alcohol poisoning last year. Neither was CSU.

The point I'm trying to make is that even though I think AlcoholEdu could be a good thing, it shouldn't be the only method we use to protect our students.

A parent who relies only on CSU as an institution to teach a student about alcohol is a parent who is diverting responsibility and perhaps blame to another source.

On Dr. Phil last spring, Samantha Spady's parents stated that they believed their daughter didn't know that alcohol could kill a person, but never once did they blame CSU for her presumed lack of knowledge.

Not only were they dealing with the death of their daughter, but they also had the dignity to say that maybe they should have talked more with her about the dangers of alcohol.

I can't remember a time in my life when reading a book or doing work on a computer made more of an impact on me than an actual deep conversation. I didn't become a good reader in elementary school based solely on what I was taught there. My parents also read to me every night and supplemented my learning.

Some may view it as a good thing that CSU is claiming some of the responsibility in preventing alcohol deaths by trying to educate our students. It is a good thing, if it is being used to supplement what is taught at home.

Until our society changes and all parents can have an open, comfortable relationship with their children, there are still going to be some students who are not educated about alcohol and will make the wrong decisions, no matter how many online alcohol courses they take. And when parents realize this and do their part to help educate their children, the school year might be a little more positive for the rest of us.

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