A Tech-Econ Mashup with a Libertarian Flavor


Apparently, the local paper published my letter-to-the-editor today (I thought they were supposed to contact you to verify your address before they print these things?). The background is that my university has a new policy this year that punishes students for alcohol-related offenses that occur off-campus. As would be expected, what passes for a local newspaper wrote an editorial commending university leadership for their excellent parenting. /sarcasm.

Here’s my take on the matter:

The Sept. 8 editorial praising Minnesota State University’s underage drinking policy (“MSU Correct on Alcohol Policy”) patronizes the MSU student community.

Of course, students ought to be expected to follow a reasonable code of conduct, both on-campus and when acting as representatives at university-sanctioned, off-campus events. However, the editorial missed the bigger issue at stake: It is the duty of local law enforcement officials, not school administrators, to police students’ activities off-campus.

MSU’s punishments for alcohol-related offenses (which include fines and mandatory “educational” films) are an assault on the autonomy of these young adults and have a questionable deterrent effect at best. Charging students for alcohol-related offenses through the legal system is the proper way to handle run-ins with the law; further castigating them through academic disciplinary action oversteps the school’s authority and should not be tolerated.

Perhaps if MSU’s administrators are serious about curbing underage drinking, they ought to begin by treating adults (even ones who behave like children) as adults and let them be accountable to the law for their actions.

A more thorough analysis of MSU’s alcohol-related-misconduct policy (courtesy of yours truly and the MS U Econ Club) will appear in the campus Reporter next Tuesday. I’ll blog it here.


Filed under: Off-Topic, ,

2 Responses

  1. Will Luther says:

    Congrats on the LtE. We have silly alcohol policies as well.

  2. […] rather than increasing the severity of the punishment (the MSU administration should be paying attention to […]

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Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.
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