Scott Tibbs
blog post
September 9th, 2005

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IUSA agenda: Beer and free speech

According to the Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University Student Association president Alex Shortle thinks "a good way to increase alcohol awareness is to sell beer in campus buildings."

Yep. That's nice.

I do not deny that Indiana University has an unrealistic "dry campus" policy, which encourages irresponsible drinking by driving it underground. I am not sure that selling alcohol in campus buildings would be an effective way to deal with that problem, however.

Shortle does have a good point that "Students generally feel safer driving home than walking home because it's quicker and they're contained." Students walking home fowm downtown bars are easy targets for a pubic intoxication arrest. A former Republican candidate for mayor, Fred Prall, brought this up during the 2003 city elections, when he said students "are treated rudely in my opinion, over such things as the police harassing them when they are trying to get home, walking home from the Bird".

While I don't know how often this happens, most people would agree that it is far better for someone to walk home after drinking than to drive home. So long as they are not causing problems, they should be left alone.

Shortle also wants to see more "free speech zones" on campus in addition to Dunn Meadow. Dean of students Richard McKaig agreed, saying IU may do away with "free speech zones" and "just set down parameters for wherever it is".

Of course, the idea that Dunn Meadow is the campus "free speech zone" is laughable. That the entire campus is a "free speech zone" has been the effective policy at IU for many years, as the College Republicans and Democrats, InPIRG, the Animal Defense League, OUT, the Student Coalition, the Student Alliance for Responsible Research and other organizations have held events all over campus with little or no interference from the administration.