A reality check is definitely long overdue at our beloved premiere university in Louisiana. LSU fans and alumni become outraged when the LSU Tigers’ performance on the football field fails to meet their expectations. It results in condemnation of the head coach, and if the poor performance continues, fans and alumni call for the coach’s head. However, when it comes to injurious partying at LSU, apparently no one gives a damn. A young man might have died at the hands of fraternity hazing, and yet, there is no outcry for anyone’s head in the LSU administration. LSU has a designated office in its administration charged with the oversight of fraternity and sorority activities, including how pledging is conducted.
Apparently, this exists in name only for over the years when serious violations occurred at these organizations it was usually the national chapter that imposed the punitive actions on the campus chapters, not LSU. According to recent media investigations, emails, letters and verbal warnings by alumni had little effect in creating a proactive, regulatory approach for the office charged with the oversight of these organizations. Someone or some administrative office failed to do its job and holding those accountable in addition to the students themselves would certainly show that LSU is as concerned about the well-being of its students as it is about its football performance. What is equally disturbing is how the public continues to absolve the administration of any responsibility for these incidences.
Guess the easy way out is to just blame it all on the kids, because we all know, “everyone just loves to party,” especially at LSU. Sadly, I suspect the reason for this muted public outcry is the notion among many adults that drinking is just a part of the “college experience.” Drunken behavior has always been acceptable in our society. Some parents even facilitate teenage drinking in their homes with the excuse that they want their children’s first exposure to drinking to be among family so that they can prepare them for college life, or life in general. However, the bottom line for all college drinking in Louisiana is the fact that the legal drinking age is 21, and 18-20-year-olds may only consume alcohol in an alcoholic beverage outlet if they are accompanied by a parent, spouse or legal guardian who is 21 years of age or older. Yet drinking is continually permitted at university-sponsored frats and sororities.
It’s the coach’s fault when the LSU students lose a football game, but it is totally the students’ fault when underage students binge drink at an LSU sanctioned frat or sorority house resulting in property damage, someone’s injury, or death. Where is the LSU administrative effort to realistically regulate this irresponsible and often destructive behavior, and where is the alumni and public demand to do so?