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The Greyhound

The Greyhound

Editorial: The Greyhound’s role in the drinking dialog

Last week we ran a cover story about a local bar, Murphy’s, which is frequented by Loyola students, moving next door to another popular bar, Craig’s. We decided to run this article, and put it on the cover of our publication, because we knew this would have an impact on our student readership and be of interest to them. We had an opportunity to take a rumor and investigate it, get the truth straight from the owner of the bar and present it to the students who were interested.
I’ve been an editor at this paper since I was a freshman, and one thing that I’ve come to expect is that anytime we write an article which acknowledges that Loyola students consume alcohol, some administrators are not going to be thrilled. But I’ve never quite gotten over some of the reactions we get from students.
I’ve heard that we only represent one, loud, minority voice on campus, those people who go out and get wasted every week, while ignoring the quieter voices of the rest of the community, those who choose to not drink or party hard. I’ve heard that we’re representing our school poorly to those outside our little community, like our neighbors in Baltimore and prospective students. I’ve been told that our writers don’t check their facts, we don’t know what we’re talking about, if only we would actually do this journalism thing right then we would start showing the truth about Loyola students.
We didn’t get all of those accusations from this one article, but the ones we did get fit into a larger pattern of concerns about how we talk about drinking on this campus. And I’m concerned, too. When our news editor has to interview a student from University of Baltimore for our cover story because every Loyola student she talks to refuses to go on the record out of fear that they will face backlash through the organizations they belong to, I think there is a problem.
There is a crazy contradiction here that (however true or false the perception is) most students consume alcohol fairly regularly, and it’s a part of college, it’s normal—but we aren’t supposed to admit this aloud, in public, in print. Three years ago, I watched crowds gather at the taxi stand outside Butler every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and that was established as normal behavior for Loyola students to me. But two years ago the newspaper was criticized for printing a Guide to Freshman Year that included advice like “Craig’s and Favorite’s are the same place” and “Don’t eat tacos on Taco Tuesday.” As though by acknowledging that freshmen go to these places, we were somehow breaking a sacred, unwritten rule and advocating underage drinking.
At some point we must have been taught that there is something unacceptable, un-Jesuit or un-Loyola about being a college where underage or excessive drinking happens. But that lesson isn’t stopping that behavior; it’s teaching us that we’re supposed to ignore it or hide it when we step into our official roles on campus, be they newspaper editor, resident assistant or Evergreen.
Rather than normalizing the drinking culture at Loyola and teaching safe practices, we’re exposed to pressure from the one ideology that drinking is almost immoral and from the other that it’s necessary for engaging in the social scene here.
Personally, I don’t agree with either notion, and I don’t believe that it should be in my job description to censor every allusion to alcohol from this publication. The Greyhound is not produced for the greater Baltimore community or for prospective students and their parents. It’s produced for you, the undergrad population, by your fellow undergrad students, to talk about things that impact our lives. We will stop writing articles about bars on York Road and drinking when they cease to be a part of our lives and our campus culture, because there will be nothing left to say.
Within the next few weeks, we will be running a cover story on the drinking culture on our campus, and I encourage anyone who is interested or has something to say to contact us. If anything, I am now convinced that this issue needs to be examined more fully, and that there is a conversation to be had.

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    GinaSep 18, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    When I wrote the BuzzFeed article on Loyola, people quick to point out that I must’ve “drank a ton”, since so many of the points on the list “only applied if you were a huge partier”. I found this amusing, since I was probably the farthest thing from it. I was a presidential scholar, a proud member of the jazz ensemble, and one of six people in my class to complete an undergrad thesis on psychology. I also enjoyed a night out on York Road. I was friendly with a lot of different people from a wide variety of social crowds, from those who didn’t drink at all to those who went out multiple weeknights. I can say with confidence that each and every person worked their ass off and took their classes seriously, regardless of how they chose to spend their free time. It’s time to stop being naive about the drinking culture that exists at ANY college. More importantly, people need to stop shaming others for choosing to take part in a particular social scene. Never, in my entire four years at Loyola, did I feel judged or criticized for choosing to opt out of a Taco Tuesday. Though I’ve graduated, I’m happy that the Greyhound is taking the initiative to start a conversation on the “drinking culture” at Loyola. I think that there’s a lot to be said, and a lot to be learned. Bravo!

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Editorial: The Greyhound’s role in the drinking dialog