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What the ‘Rents Know. A Parent Replies
Jeffrey Sunshine is the father of Matthew Sunshine, a Northwestern student who died of alcohol poisoning on June 10, 2008, after engaging in a drinking game with a NU senior who was surreptitiously drinking water. Sunshine père is a regular reader of Dartblog, and he writes in to take issue with a remark of mine in yesterday’s post:
You ask, “what parents aren’t yet aware that student drinking is a serious problem?”
We were unaware that over 40% of Northwestern students suffered alcohol or drug induced blackouts.
We were unaware that when our son was at Northwestern about a hundred (and now apparently many more) Northwestern students were (and are) rushed to the hospital each year for acute alcohol intoxication, many of them apparently with levels of alcohol higher than that which killed our son.
We were unaware that about 18% of Northwestern students have gotten into fights due to alcohol or drug use.
We were unaware that about 16% of Northwestern students have been hurt or injured due to alcohol or drug use.
For every parent of a female college student: We were unaware that on average 20% to 25% of college female students are physically sexually abused, or assaulted, or raped while at college, and alcohol is usually involved.
We were unaware that most students at Northwestern drink in more than moderation under CDC guidelines.
We were unaware that more than half of the students at Northwestern engaged in binge drinking.
We were unaware that the Northwestern administration believed that it was the victim of a societal problem.
Perhaps if parents knew the details of what occurs on campus, they would, in addition to watching more carefully over their sons and daughters, demand that administrations at schools like Northwestern, and apparently Dartmouth, take responsibility for what occurs on their campus and in residences, where they require that freshman students like our son live — supposedly for their own good — in order to acquaint them with the Northwestern way of life.
Matthew Sunshine’s Father
Addendum: A recent graduate comments from hard-won experience:
The only way to fix the alcohol problem at Dartmouth is to admit serious students, not hoop jumpers. Professors should make classes more rigorous, stop grade inflation and penalize truancy.
Standards like these would have kept me out of Hanover or would have at least made for a tough first quarter. But I would have learned an important lesson early on — the best things require seriousness and sacrifice.
I disagree with this argument. The pervasiveness of the alcohol culture sweeps in many level-headed, serious students. More serious, structural efforts are needed.
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…