Alcohol-free units genuinely reflect Corps goals, values
Cigarettes are hazardous to your health. The second-hand health dangers are significant. Many people find smoke annoying. As a result of these negative aspects of tobacco, restaurants and many other public facilities offer separate sections for patrons who choose to smoke and those who prefer not to partake.
For identical reasons, the decision by two Corps of Cadets units to go alcohol free is a great move.
Two Corps units, Company P-2 and Squadron 12, now have an official no-alcohol policy for their members. This is a positive policy that will not only improve the Corps' image, but help combat the stereotypical view of college students.
Alcohol use and abuse is prevalent among college students. While most of their alcohol use is legal and much of it is responsible, underage drinking still takes place and the annoying side affects of the alcohol use are frequently evident.
The University Police Department at Texas A&M has issued more than 78 minor in possession citations since January. Unfortunately, alcohol-related deaths are not uncommon to college campuses. By implementing this new alcohol-free policy, these Corps units are distancing themselves from these negative images.
Alcohol does not complement the image the Corps tries to portray of itself. Cadets are disciplined and responsible. Those words do not fit a drunk college student.
Although not all drinkers wind up inebriated, banning alcohol eliminates the possibility.
The presence of alcohol makes the Corps staff's job more difficult. They must worry about open containers, under-age roommates and disposal of empty glass bottles. Eliminating alcohol in the residence hall prevents confrontations and countless headaches.
Aside from the administrative difficulties, the presence of alcohol can be annoying for others nearby. Those who drink irresponsibly require an extra level of care and supervision. Roommates or unit buddies do not want the responsibility of getting a drunk friend to bed, putting up with odors or cleaning up any mess left over.
Now that two units in the Corps are alcohol free, incoming Corps members may choose to avoid the problems that often accompany alcohol.
Corps units are, by design, very close-knit. Alcohol hinders this unity the group strives to achieve among its members. Alcohol creates a division between members who are over 21 and those who are beneath the legal drinking age. It separates the drinkers from the teetotalers. An alcohol-free unit can avoid the possibility of alienating some of its members.
Compared to the other sacrifices Corps members must make, giving up alcohol is nothing. Even for those who insist upon their booze, there are other Corps units that continue to allow alcohol.
There are few positive aspects to the use of alcohol. Certainly no one has been hurt by the absence of hard drink. Members of the alcohol-free units will not suffer under the new policy. College life will continue, and weekends will still be as fun as they were before.
The alcohol-free policy reflects the Corps' aim to develop responsible leaders for tomorrow. In this case, the simplest and best way to avoid alcohol-related problems was to go to the root and get rid of the alcohol. Hopefully, these units will now be able to better focus on producing quality leaders for tomorrow.
Dave Johnston is a senior mathematics major.