Student Behavior on Campus

In reviewing this year’s Living on Campus survey, I was quite frankly surprised at the number of comments we received on student behavior ⎯ ranging from alcohol use to lack of personal responsibility. This topic has come up before, but this year it seemed to be more top-of-mind.

Underage drinking has been a major problem on many college and university campuses for years. Studies suggest that between 1993 and 2001, approximately 44 percent of college students were heavy drinkers ⎯ for men, five or more drinks in a row (for women, four or more drinks) ⎯ on at least one occasion in the past two weeks. There is no question that alcohol use affects classwork and plays a role in poor grades, but far too often it also factors in accidents, injuries, vandalism, other crimes, and even tragedy on the college campus. Suggestions to improve this problem include working with local communities to ensure that alcohol is not served to underage or intoxicated students, monitoring fraternities to ensure compliance with policies and laws, restricting alcohol-related advertising on campus, keeping libraries and recreational facilities open longer hours, and disciplining repeat offenders.

Lack of personal responsibility is a more difficult problem to deal with. Unfortunately, this is one value that has eroded away not only on college campuses, but also in society at large. No matter what happens, or what role we played in what happened ⎯ it is always someone else’s fault. Blame it on violent movies, video games, being bullied in grade school, the coffee being too hot ⎯ but don’t blame it on me.  Many parents play a big role in encouraging this behavior. We even have names for them now ⎯helicopter parents ⎯ who pay extremely close attention to their child's experiences and problems, sometimes being overprotective, and always hovering; and lawnmower parents, mothers and fathers who attempt to smooth out and mow down all obstacles ⎯ including you!

Too many people have replaced good judgment and common sense with arrogance and entitlement. Paying college tuition gives students the right to a quality education. It does not give them the right to choose which of the university's policies they wish to abide by.