A Break-Up Letter To My Dry Campus Policy

A Break-Up Letter To My Dry Campus Policy

I think it's time we see other people.
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Historically speaking, prohibition of just about everything has failed in one way or another. More specifically, look at the 10 years that prohibition on alcohol lasted. During that time the only thing that changed wasn't the amount of alcohol consumed and produced, but instead the number of people consuming alcohol legally. Now, I know what you're thinking, how can something which happened nearly 100 years ago be relevant? Well, if that is your logic, then we are already on the same page. The idea of a dry campus is dangerous and doesn't promote sobriety among its students. Actually, it has the opposite intended effect. If we believe the research, two in five students “binge drink” and as many as 1,400 die each year of alcohol-related causes, mostly drunk driving (background on alcohol abuse.) If the bathrooms on campus weren't a dead giveaway to the alcohol consumption on this campus, then trash is. Firsthand, I've seen bathrooms with their floors covered in urine, and vomit, sometimes blood. What's worse is that more often than not, the janitors are left to pick up all the trash from the broken things across campus, Facilities-Operations (fac-ops) comes and fixes what's broken, the students get billed, and the cycle begins anew the next weekend. Every time the trash is taken out it sounds like sleigh bells with the mass amounts of glass bottles in the trash. The campus has found that incidents involving students breaking or damaging campus property can very easily be traced to alcohol.

Ignorance is bliss until it becomes part of your tuition bill.

My sophomore year, I witnessed first hand the effect alcohol had on the campus. I was 21 before I even came to school here since I am a transfer student. I have never had to drink illegally while I've been a student here at Norwich. As a student here, it scares me to see people getting into situations where they could potentially hurt themselves-or worse-other people around them. The pub on campus provides legal drinks at a cost which many students can't afford to take advantage of, so the logical choice is to bypass that and enjoy some nice beverages purchased at any one of the various outlets selling alcohol within walking distance of campus. It is simply time to start taking action to make smarter policies to protect the students and the school. What this means is looking out for your friends. Always keep perspective.

How much is too much?

I can say this about the policy. When you say no to people in college there will always be a way around your rules. Students will find loopholes, or find people who are willing to look the other way. It simply does not work and it is time for Norwich to join other campuses in an effort to combat the rampant alcoholism and destruction of school property by letting people do what they should be able to do on their own free time. I cannot produce an exact figure, but I can definitely speculate that amount of money spent on security and campus repairs add up rather quickly. Just last semester, there were not one, but two instances where the vending machine in my building was broken into, and had all the snacks stolen out of it. It's disappointing to see. You may ask where I'm going with this, but I promise I'll tie all of this together nice and neat so people can see just how crazy it is to keep things the way they are. As they say, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting there to be different results. Why is the dated alcohol policy one of those things? Why has this been the chosen method, why don't students have a say? Well, the answer is actually simple. It has to do with the poor behavior alcohol causes on campus. Between the damages to glass in civilian buildings, numerous reports of sexual assault and/or harassment, even the fact that plexiglass had to be installed on the TV's in various parts of campus, these are all things you can thank the people who ruin things for everyone. They are the reason that the dry campus seems justifiable. Until people can help those folks on campus keep their act together, we won't see any progress. If this campus can't work "without alcohol" how do we expect leadership to allow us to even have a say as to whether or not it should be a dry campus. So, let's say you're one of the many people who's reading this and you stop and think, that doesn't sound like me at all, I don't break things, I do not drink in excess, and I am aware of my tolerance and limits encourage more people to do the same!

How can we break the cycle?

I am not saying that the intentions are in the wrong place when it comes to alcohol policy at Norwich University; however, a good long look at revision and analysis of current results is long overdue. It has gotten so bad that alcohol abuse has lead to our vending machines being broken into and stolen from so much that they were removed campus-wide. It's ridiculous, we are a college, as adults, we shouldn't be leaving a trail of destruction in our wake, it costs all of us, even the responsible people on campus a lot of money. The big issue is the violation of the alcohol policy, where students are expected to hold each other accountable and tell superiors if they suspect there has been a violation of this policy. This is a major cause of stress for many students, and on more than one occasion has lead to the dismissal of students from this University. I do not believe this approach works. We are not creating a culture of integrity, we are making a laundry list of stress, gripes and complaints from students ranging from having the moral and ethical dilemma of ratting out your friends, or risking getting suspended from the university over some beers. In some cases, VAPs can be used as blackmail. The double standard of only some people getting caught for drinking, and others not, creates a culture of either dishonesty, or enables people to blackmail others.


Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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To Fix Taxes, We Have To Rethink 'Wealthy'

"Wealthy" doesn't mean the same for everyone.

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When discussing taxes today, so many politicians are quick to rush to the adage "tax the rich." Bernie Sanders has called for the rich to be taxed higher to pay for Medicare for All. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for a 70% tax on the wealthy.

However, all of these proposals are missing a key thing: a true definition of rich.

When thinking about what counts as rich, it is important to distinguish between the "working wealthy" and the "investment wealthy."

The working wealthy are the people in society that get paid highly because they have a high skill set and provide an extremely valuable service that they deserve just compensation for. This class is made up of professionals like lawyers, doctors, and CEOs. In addition, the working wealthy are characterized by another crucial aspect: over a long term calculation of their earned income over time, they don't come out as prosperous as their annual incomes would seem to suggest. This is because this set of the wealthy has to plunge into student debt for degrees that take years to acquire. These jobs generally also require a huge amount of time invested in lower-paying positions, apprenticeships, and internships before the big-money starts coming in.

On the other hand, the investment wealthy is completely different. These are the people that merely sit back and manipulate money without truly contributing to anything in society. A vast majority of this class is born into money and they use investments into stocks and bonds as well as tax loopholes to generate their money without actually contributing much to society as a whole.

What makes the investment wealthy so different from the working wealthy is their ability to use manipulative techniques to avoid paying taxes. While the working wealthy are rich, they do not have AS many resources or connections to manipulate tax laws the way that the investment wealthy can. The investment wealthy has access to overseas banking accounts to wash money though. The investment wealthy can afford lawyers to comb over tax laws and find loopholes for ridiculous prices. This is tax evasion that the working wealthy simply does not have access to.

That is why it is so incredibly important to make sure that we distinguish between the two when discussing tax policy. When we use blanket statements like "tax the rich," we forget the real reasons that the investment wealthy are able to pay such low taxes now. Imposing a larger marginal tax rate will only give them more incentive to move around taxes while squeezing the working wealthy even more.

Because of this, in our taxation discourse, we need to focus first on making sure people pay their taxes, to begin with. Things like a tax of Wall Street speculation, capital gains taxes, a closing of loopholes, and a simplification of the tax code. These things will have a marked improvement in making sure that the investment wealthy actually pays the taxes we already expect of them now. If we stick to the same message, the only thing we will be changing is the rate that the uber-wealthy are avoiding.

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