Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

College Drinking

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

College Drinking

Article excerpt

RECOMMENDATIONS in a report released last Thursday on making the Ramapo College campus safer with regard to drinking sound smart, but this remains a formidable challenge.

While the spotlight has been on Ramapo over the past several months, excessive drinking on campuses is an issue across the country. Implementing and enforcing reasonable policies can be difficult because of the mix of ages on a campus. Some students can legally drink, while others can't. But the reality is that freshmen will still find access to alcohol.

Dealing with this issue became more pressing after two Ramapo students were charged with sexually assaulting a female student in a dorm room in November 2014. Three more students were charged with encouraging the assault.

The college president, Peter P. Mercer, issued a statement after those arrests stressing the importance of "personal responsibility and respect for one's fellow students" being "at the core of collegiate life." That sentiment is true, but it depends on everyone buying in to that ideal.

"The central challenge currently facing Ramapo is that, in practice, a campus culture has developed wherein large, alcohol- based parties are held in and around Ramapo's residence halls," Anne Milgram, a former New Jersey attorney general, wrote in her report.

According to students' comments on Niche.com, a website that lets people review colleges based on a number of factors, the party scene is fairly quiet at Ramapo, especially after the administration cracked down on binge drinking and large student gatherings. However, another student on the website said the party scene is in fact still strong for such a small campus.

There may not be a consensus on the intensity of the parties, but isolated or not, the alleged sexual assault was a serious incident worthy of a serious response. …

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