The Spectator

Spectator editorial: Captive audience

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Providing students with access to information on the adverse effects of alcohol is generally a good idea. But imposing that information onto students is unfair and could establish an adversarial tone at UW-Eau Claire.

The Center for Alcohol Studies and Education wants to make a short survey on drinking habits mandatory for Eau Claire students, according to an article in The Spectator.

The program, Check-up to GO, or “e-CHUG,” costs $745 and is used by two other UW System schools. Eau Claire would be the first in Wisconsin to make it an academic requirement, which would require approval by University Senate, according to the article.

Proponents of the program said it would promote moderate drinking in students and provide comprehensive data on drinking trends to university officials and counselors.

But a mandatory drinking survey could make alcohol more of an issue on campus than it really is. Doing so could in turn damage rapport with students while simultaneously failing to make a difference.

First, making the program mandatory probably won’t impact those students who already plan to drink as they please. But it would condemn those students who plan to be responsible.

Additionally, incoming freshmen have enough logistical tasks and general concerns to address as they enter the university. If the survey was made a requirement, it would become yet another hassle during what is already a stressful, overwhelming time.

Offering the program as an option
or incorporating it into First Year Experience courses would yield many of the benefits of making the program mandatory. Working closely with parents to influence the behaviors of incoming students is another option.

CASE could also consider working more closely with campus housing to distribute literature on moderation to incoming

But making students a captive audience to a message of moderation is an unfair and potentially unwise initiative.

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The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.
Spectator editorial: Captive audience