It can happen here

It has been almost a month since Duke University’s Lacrosse Team has been halted by allegations of rape, underage drinking and racial discrimination that occurred at the LAX frat house and the University as well as the City of Durham are still wondering how, what and why it happened.

Can we begin with the alcohol? Fraternities and their sorority counterparts are known for drinking, partying and for allowing it to get out of hand. A study by Julianne Basinger found that fraternity and sorority leaders are the heaviest of all drinkers on college campuses and collegiate athletes that participated in fraternities have the highest risk overall of alcohol abuse.

The men’s lacrosse team was an accident waiting to happen. The team, treated by the school as elite athletes had been in trouble before. An article in “The News & Observer” reported that 15 LAX players have had charges brought against them in the past three years and most were reduced or plead out so that criminal convictions were not brought about.

While many are sure that factors such as the disparity between the class and wealth may certainly play a part in this grievous situation the use of alcohol and its pervasiveness on college campuses today is sure to cause some to question the myth of a “drinking just to have a good time.”

Statistics show that besides the binge drinking that accounts for 44 percent of college age drinkers, 52 percent of all students who drink do it to get to get drunk and most of those are under the legal drinking age. Even more frightening is the statistic that over 1,500 students die each year in alcohol-related accidents and over 70,000 are sexually assaulted. Duke lacrosse fit the profile but where does the blame lie?

Lacrosse coach Mike Pressler resigned but is he responsible? How about the university itself? Is the stripper’s fault for showing up at an all male event where the drunk men outnumbered the women 21 to 1? Perhaps the players are the ones responsible for their actions but that response would seem to fly in the face of today’s victim mentality; its always someone else’s fault. And finding fault really matters here because if men or women are allowed to drink, get drunk and sexually assault someone because of the influence of alcohol then we should look at the alcohol and if the alcohol is at fault then colleges and universities need to look at policies curbing alcohol use on their campus by groups associated with their university. What happened at Duke is not an isolated incident, it can happen here.

–Jeanni Meade

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