Thursday, May 14, 2015

Selling Booze Is Bad Idea For ASU

by Bob Hester, Director, Arkansas Family Coalition: The Board of Trustees governing Arkansas State University made an incredibly bad decision to allow the sale of alcohol on the ASU campus. According to ASU spokesman Jeff Hankins, money was the main reason for this decision, but many questions need to be answered. How much money will be made, and how many people requested it? And even more important, what will it do for the university and the surrounding communities? The negative aspects of this decision need to be examined.

Even ASU's own handbook states, "Alcohol and other substance abuse is a university campus concern."

Another reason given by Hankins: "It is an expected amenity that the fans and supporters want." This would be primarily a perk for the wealthy and connected who sit in the high boxes and not the regular people who still get Pepsi and hot dogs. Can't those few go a few hours without consuming alcohol in consideration for the safety and protection of those who don't want it or don't want to be around the consequences? If not, it sounds like someone has a problem that the university will be enabling. There are already more than 12 million alcoholics in the U.S.

Just who are these fans and supporters who want it?

Hankins also stated, "We're making every effort to be cautious and responsible in executing this plan."

Wouldn't real caution be better served by being responsible enough to consider ASU first an educational organization concerned with building character in its students and not a glorified bar for the rich and famous? Everyone has seen the horrendous statistics about the alcohol problems that saturate many universities today. ASU's fraternities and dorms have been in the news repeatedly over issues that have their roots in alcohol. What kind of character lessons do students get when they see the leaders of the school flout dry county laws to peddle booze to the well-heeled?

Mr. Hankins further stated, " ... If we are able to attract events we otherwise couldn't have attracted, we see that more as a positive for the campus and community."

So those who want to consume alcohol rule the day. Are they more important than those who don't drink and voted the county dry? The conclusion seems to be that ASU expects citizens to sacrifice their standards and safety so a few can have their alcohol. But, if ASU can bring in a few more bucks, what does it matter? Is this not worshiping the almighty dollar, pure greed and total selfishness, resulting in lack of concern for the will of the people, and the safety of those in the community whom the university serves?

Craighead County is dry by choice of the people, and it should be illegal to serve alcohol on campus. Those petitioning to make Craighead wet failed even to get sufficient signatures. Those things should have been considered in the board's decision.

A Sun article states, "Patrons of athletic events and concerts have requested the opportunity to be served alcoholic beverages, and the service has become common at sports and concert venues throughout the country."

To say alcohol is common at sports and concerts is misleading. Those places are in counties where alcohol is openly sold legally. To the best of my knowledge, all of the teams in the Sunbelt Conference are located within wet areas. Sadly, the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and UALR both sell alcohol on campus, but they too are in wet counties.

As far as being a "private club" with restricted sales to only members, that was supposed to be the case with restaurants that called themselves "private clubs." At the beginning it was necessary to pay once-a-year membership dues and to sign in each time you entered the restaurant. Currently, no signing is necessary, and no dues are required. So, anyone from New York to California can walk into a restaurant in Jonesboro and purchase and consume about all they want. Won't it be the same with this issue?

The dangers of alcohol mentioned below are well documented, and most parents want the university to protect their children from these dangers instead of further involving them in behavior that will endanger their lives and well being.

Excessive alcohol consumption cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006. Costs were incurred by losses in workplace productivity, health care expenses, law enforcement and criminal justice expenses, motor vehicle crash costs from impaired driving, etc., according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Excessive alcohol consumption is known to kill about 88,000 people in the U.S. each year, according to the CDC and the Lewin Group.

The researchers estimated that excessive drinking costs $746 for every man, woman and child in the United States in 2006, the most recent year for which data were available. The study analyzed national data from multiple sources to estimate the costs of excessive drinking. The study did not consider costs such as pain and suffering, and thus may be an underestimate.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reporting on college drinking problems gave some alarming facts regarding students between the ages of 18 and 24. Each year more than 690,000 students are assaulted by other students who have been drinking, more than 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape and 1,825 college students die each year from unintentional alcohol-related injuries.

So why would the university want to encourage the use of alcohol on the campus?
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Bob Hester is Bob Hester, Director, Arkansas Family Coalition and a local community activist. The Jonesboro Sun also published this article.

Update:
The Board made the decision to allow alcohol sales on the ASU campus; but it is not a done deal yet so please contact the individuals below and ask them to refuse to sell alcohol on the ASU campus for any or all of the reasons in the guest editorial above.

Dr. Charles Welch, President (501) 660-1000 president@asusystem.edu
Shane Broadway, Vice President for University Relations (501) 660-1001 sbroadway@asusystem.edu
Tim Hudson, Chancellor 972-3030 timhudson@astate.edu
Jeff Hankins, Vice President of Strategic Communications (501) 660-1000 jhankins@asusystem.edu

Tags: Selling Booze, Bad Idea, ASU, Jonesboro, Bob Hester, Director, Arkansas Family Coalition To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

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