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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

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Faculty, administration express concern over growing sobriety trend on campus


Last fall, SGA initiated a vigorous campaign to address the persistent problems with drinking culture on campus. Faculty and administration have been concerned for quite some time, and last week, began to take action.

On Tuesday, Dr. PL Lucas of the English department held his first weekly wine tasting outside of Boulder. He shares SGA’s goal of combating the dangerous sobriety trend at Loyola.

Lucas, who wrote Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World’s Most Ancient Pleasures, is concerned that students are missing out on one of the great joys of life by abstaining from alcohol.

“If you want to stop frequenting the establishments on York Road, it’s fine by me. I’m just concerned about the type of people we’re sending out into the world if they can’t learn to appreciate a fine glass of wine,” said Lucas.

Last week, the selections were Evergreen swipeable, and Dr. Lucas is working with Dining Services to allow students to use declining dollars in the future.

Several other faculty members who declined to speak on the record are considering similar actions they can take. One professor, who admits to learning to drink Scotch from the Jesuits, believes that this is an invaluable part of the Ignatian tradition.

Some administrators expressed their concern about the faculty’s direct tactics. The office of Student Development could not be reached for comment; however, inside sources admitted that an educative poster campaign about the benefits of college drinking is in the works.

ADESS (Alcohol and Drug Education and Support Services) has been working for years to deflate students’ perceptions about the dangers of using alcohol and drugs, and readily signed on to contribute to Student Development’s campaign.

Senior Joe McCoy, member of the ultimate frisbee team and president of the Young Prohibitionists Society, is devastated by the faculty and administration’s recent actions. “I’m honestly blindsided. I always knew Loyola had a reputation but I came here to try and make a difference,” said McCoy, who has been an active member of YPS since his freshman year. Since he was appointed president, the club has become one of the most popular special interest groups on campus. “At any other school, the administration would be sympathetic to our cause and up until now it seemed like the administrators were finally coming around and seeing our perspective.”

The YPS plans to respond by setting up a table across from Dr. Lucas’s during lunchtime and urging students to sign their Responsible Action Petition (RAP). While the administration has not responded favorably to the RAP in the past, YPS students hope a massive show of student support will initiate a new conversation.

“The University just needs to recognize the reality: students do not want to drink, and their posters aren’t going to do anything,” McCoy said.

While a majority of students share McCoy’s views, a few are working to return Loyola to its founding traditions.

Senior Caitlyn McMurphy started the Options organization her sophomore year to foster a sense of fellowship among the pro-drinkers on campus. The University has been supportive of Options’ goals, but they’ve been struggling to gain student interest. McMurphy, a loyal patron of local York Road establishments, said she was tired of being the only one hailing a cab on Friday nights.

“I’m trying to keep up morale, but it’s so sad to go into Iggy’s and see all those stacks of Solo cups gathering dust,” said McMurphy. She understands that the York Road bars might not be for everyone but still believes that drinking can be a valuable social exercise.

She is cautiously optimistic about Lucas’ strategy. “I want to believe that students can expand their college experience to appreciate all the great events Baltimore has to offer, like Cat Night and Rally in the Alley. We’ll see what happens,” McMurphy said.

In the mean time Options will continue offering an alternative to the sober culture at Loyola.

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Faculty, administration express concern over growing sobriety trend on campus