Discussing alcoholism at UD

Photo by Hannah Green.

Everyone knows drinking is part of the culture at the University of Dallas. The question we should be asking is just how much risk our habit of mixing alcohol with our activities is putting us and our university in.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the drinking culture at the University of Dallas can be categorized as high risk.

The NIAAA states that binge drinking constitutes drinking up to four drinks for women and five drinks for men “on the same occasion,” meaning, in one night or at one party at least one day in the past month.

We can apply this definition to weekend parties in the woods or in Tower Village, where many students both underage and of legal drinking age consume four or five drinks or more in one night.

Not only do we see evidence of binge drinking during casual events such as Wine Down Wednesdays in Tower Village, but we also see evidence of NIAAA standards of heavy drinking in the UD culture.

The NIAAA defines heavy drinking as binge drinking for five or more days out of a given month.

With four Wine Down Wednesdays, four TGITs, and four weekends per month, it’s safe to say that the drinking culture at UD has reached the standard of heavy drinking.

Some Christian universities, such as Baylor University in Waco, have a strict no-drinking policy on campus. Baylor’s “Student Policies & Procedures” listed on their website states that any student, both of legal drinking age or not, caught on campus with the possession of alcohol will go through the conduct process.

In contrast, UD serves alcohol to those of legal drinking age on campus at various events such as TGIT, Groundhog and Oktoberfest. Alcohol is served at these events for the purpose of enhancing the atmosphere and community through bringing friends together in a casual and comforting setting.

Although these events exist supposedly to enhance student life at UD, the progressing drinking culture at UD seems to abuse the original purpose of alcohol and negatively transform the purpose and atmosphere of campus events.

Students frequently turn events from casual and friendly hangouts to loud and inappropriate parties, which often result in the arrival of the police. Such parties are without class and without intellect, two characteristics crucial to UD’s reputation.

Last year, students who opposed President Thomas Keefe’s New College plan protested on the Mall to show how adamant they were in preserving UD’s educational reputation. Yet these same students disrespect our school’s mission with their willingness to sacrifice their studies on weeknights for drunken nonsense.

Although the drinking at UD is excessive, it is not the act of drinking itself which I see as the problem. Rather, it is the use of alcohol as a means to achieve an immature and harmful end.

I argue that if one cannot act appropriately  while drinking, one should reconsider drinking at all. Nothing is classy about sleazy dancing, spilling beer and vomiting in the toilet. A person should be able to enjoy a moderate amount of alcohol and the company of others without acting like a fool.  

Yes, alcohol is enjoyable. Throwing up all night isn’t. Searching for your friend at a party and worrying about his or her safety isn’t either.

Alcohol is part of our culture. But it shouldn’t define our culture. And it shouldn’t control how we behave.


  1. Unfortunately I believe you’ve fallen victim to the “Gold Ol days” syndrome whereby you think because what’s going on now is in front of you, but you can’t see how things used to be, you assume that things used to be better.

    Throughout my years at UD I saw a consistent but small number of immature students who were the loudest and drunkest, but most students were more moderate in their behavior and consumption. It’s hard to notice the 300 people who didn’t throw up on you though because the one person who did is so memorable.

    Please be careful trying to diagnose a culture with an illness like alcohol abuse. It’s not wise, and won’t help you better understand the variance of risky behavior on campus or help you identify ways to help those who need it without harming those who don’t.

  2. This article is terrible. The author, Christine, should be ashamed for having even submitted something so poorly written and horribly thought through. Maybe in her defence she didn’t actually think it would get published?

    But I mean hey, maybe she really is so smart that she knows everyone’s grades, everyone’s class schedule, everyone’s reasons for drinking, everyone’s study habits, and everyone’s level of intoxication so that she’s completely justified in the claims she’s making. But I doubt it. This article reads like it was written by someone who can’t grasp the concept of partying sometimes and also making good grades, or of drinking without drinking to the point of vomiting. But hey, God forbid they party on one of the author’s school nights lest she accuse them of ‘disrespecting our school’s mission’ or ‘sacrificing their studies for drunken nonsense’.
    The only drunken nonsense here is this article.

  3. I agree here. Thank you, Christine. I went to the University of Iowa for a single semester, where frequently I’d walk down the main drive and girls/boys would walk out there dorm door and vomit on the sidewalk on a Saturday/Sunday morning. I saw similar things at UD. I know alcoholics, been to AA meetings, and I think that there IS, in fact, a problem at the University of Dallas. Thanks Christine.


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