B-Side story furthers false perceptions of alcohol use

To the Daily:
Was it an intentional irony to present on Thursday’s front page an article about the increase in alcohol citations in residence halls followed by a B-Side story about what “your bar says about you” (Alcohol, drug citations on the rise in residence halls; What your bar says about you, 02/08/2007). Or was this very unfortunate juxtaposition a result of not seeing the overall message about alcohol presented in Thursday’s paper?

The message sadly reinforced by both articles is that “everybody” is drinking – a lot. Even some of the large text on the page emphasizes this -“Residence Hall Debauchery,” “Rowdy West Quad”- as if those who don’t drink are in the minority at the University.

As a research fellow at the University Substance Abuse Research Center, I have seen the results of many studies that show that most students do not drink to excess, most student drinkers are not underage or using fake IDs.Most students wish someone would do something about the disruptions caused by heavy drinking, and most students think that everyone else drinks more than they really do.

Thursday’s articles do nothing to correct false assumptions. Instead, the Daily buried one probable reason for the increased citations deep on page 3A: A change in the way the statistics are recorded by the University. I find the “What your bar says about you” article particularly offensive, insisting as it does that everyone has been out drinking regularly enough to have associated themselves with a particular bar, that each of us can identify ourselves among the drinking chumps in the photo (“Which one are you?”), and that the point is not to be social and hang with friends, but simply to drink.

I note as well that sexism is implicitly condoned as concurrent with imbibing (“You want your beer like you want your women”), another false and dangerous presumption suggesting that women are merely commodities similar to beer. I might additionally point out that the sentence I quote above presumes every reader is male.

I am not opposed to the ingestion of alcohol. I myself drink on occasion, but I am opposed to media reports that tend to suggest that the only thing to do in college is drink and drink a lot because everyone else is drinking a lot. If there were a random anonymous poll taken on campus today, I can almost guarantee the findings would be similar to those I mentioned earlier. Most students do not condone imprudent boozing and wish something would be done to reduce it.

Perry Silverschanz, PhD, MSW

Creativity can’t be taught in even the best schools

To the Daily:
James Somers has no problem rambling on about what he dislikes about the Ross School of Business (Why the B-School is overrated, 02/07/07). However, his lack of insight on how to actually improve the Business School makes him appear simply bitter about his own personal experience in the program. He writes that the B-School doesn’t “produce innovators.” Can creativity and “thinking outside the box” really be taught at all?

How would Somers recommend teaching this? Also, he argues that learning group work is counterproductive and overemphasized. Perhaps he could also propose how things should be done differently? How do “better business schools” operate in a different way? Instead of just complaining, how about providing some possible solutions?

Paul Sinkevics
LSA freshman

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