The Central Michigan University student newspaper, Central Michigan Life, has published an editorial in response to a recent tragedy.
An 18 year old man was visiting friends over homecoming weekend, drank himself to the point of intoxication and drowned in a campus pond.
Our community failed to take care of Hartnett while he was intoxicated, and he is not alone. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that 1,825 college students aged 18 to 24 die each year due to “alcohol-related unintentional injuries.”
The editorial calls on students to participate in the campus “Take Care” initiative, where students “are encouraged to observe what is going on around you, notice potentially dangerous or serious situations, and respond to the best of your ability to influence a better outcome.”
. . . adhering to the “Take Care” initiative by no means is an abandonment of fun.
Taking care of each other is as simple as organizing a ride home for someone, calling to make sure a friend is OK or staying near to someone who shows signs of distress or inebriation.
A “Take Care” mentality is even more essential now that icy roads, cold winds and below-freezing temperatures rule the campus and Mount Pleasant area.
My comments are not a criticism of the CMU office of student affairs or the paper. I’m open to the idea that this may be the best approach to preventing tragedies like Hartnett’s death. However, I find it interesting that we twist ourselves in knots and put so much effort into protecting and normalizing binge drinking and drunkenness. There was no comment on the widespread practice of drinking oneself into a state where one can no longer take care of oneself. In fact, they felt the needed to proactively address any assumptions that they were kill-joys.
It says something about how much we value getting drunk, doesn’t it?