Law school students need to raise the bar
For some Washington University law students, “passing the bar” might well have been “passing out at the bar.”
A Halloween celebration held at Anheuser-Busch Hall on Oct. 26 resulted in excessive drinking and allegedly culminated in students vomiting puddles in front of the building. The event prompted the administration to cut off the flow of alcohol to Anheuser-Busch Hall, prohibiting alcohol at all student-sponsored events in the law school building at least through the end of the semester.
Though excessive drinking occurs during campus parties like W.I.L.D. without resulting in an alcohol ban, it isn’t surprising that law school administration reacted with a harsher response to the excessive drinking. The law school administration’s actions are understandable from its perspective—it clearly didn’t expect to have to deal with puking students at a graduate student event.
However, while its motives are certainly understandable, the administration’s final decision seems overly harsh. Presumably, everyone in the law school is of drinking age, and completely banning alcohol at events for adults 21 years of age or older is a poor course of action compared to encouraging moderation. Ostensibly, a group of people in their 20s ought to be able to make intelligent decisions about its consumption of alcohol. Even if a few individuals consumed too much, a blanket ban on all drinking feels like an over-the-top reaction.
Alcohol plays a significant role in both academic and social functions, especially for grad students—alcohol-based events serve as opportunities for networking and bonding with colleagues. It’s overly harsh to handicap events like the law school Happy Hour just because of the bad decisions of a few individuals. While punishing everyone for the actions of a few may be the modus operandi for middle and high school principals dealing with teenagers, it seems like an unequivocal overreaction on the part of a law school administration dealing with adults who are attending one of the prestigious law schools in the country. Obviously, overconsumption of alcohol is not something anyone condones, but the actions of the law school administration seem far too broad and hasty.