More alcohol education needed on Dordt campus

Abby Starkenburg — Staff Writer

Every year, incoming freshmen are informed of Dordt University’s expectations regarding alcohol consumption – that is, there is no alcohol allowed. Within the speech covering alcohol on campus, Vice President for Student Success & Dean of Students Robert Taylor said 100 percent of sexual assaults on Dordt’s campus involved alcohol.

Approximately 95,000 deaths annually are alcohol-related, with about 1,519 of them being college-aged students, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. College drinking is dangerous as it can lead to assaults, sexual assaults, academic problems, addiction, etc.

The 2022 Fall lecture given to Dordt students about alcohol did not encompass safe drinking practices, even though such a high rate of both Dordt’s on-campus crimes and national crime and accident rates are alcohol-related.

Teaching people about alcohol and how it impacts decision-making is crucial according to Darcy Jensen, the Executive Director at Prairie View Prevention Services, Inc. Their practice begins prevention speeches to kids as early as grade school. Early preventative education builds the foundational blocks of decision-making abilities and value systems, Jensen said.

“Cognitively, we’re not the same person that we were before we drank anything,” Jensen said. “Alcohol is a depressant – it depresses part of our brain, and our ability to function.”

Taylor agreed that preventative alcohol education is important, as a consequence of alcohol is people making decisions they normally wouldn’t.

“Contrary to popular belief, alcohol and college campuses just don’t work very well together,” Taylor said. “It doesn’t take long to find data about the impacts of alcohol on academic rigor and the ability to do it. It’s counterproductive.”

When a Dordt student is caught with alcohol on campus, they’re issued a level and probation for about two semesters. Taylor believes that this is a good way to handle these situations because it gets people’s attention, and it is arguably effective with few repeat offenders.

Taylor said there have been multiple attempts in past years at alcohol education, such as bringing in preventative speakers to educate on safe drinking practices, but that student engagement with these activities has been low.

In the future, Taylor said he hopes students will begin to take alcohol-related offenses and education for safe-alcohol use more seriously, and is open to hearing about education opportunities that students will find engaging and informative. Even though it seems to be a speech given every year, it’s important for students to find the value behind the words, because of how dangerous and impairing the consequences can be.

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