Earl Tilford’s book “Turning the Tide: The University in the 1960s” described a University of Alabama Homecoming Parade. Anyone who has ever been to such a homecoming parade has witnessed “a trailer truck bed hauling drunken law school students in tuxedos and top hats along with their inebriated dates, an Alabama tradition.”
Aside from what this says about Alabama’s future barristers, it does represent a culture at the University of Alabama where intoxication seems to be de rigueur on its campus during Homecoming and throughout the year. And most students cannot legally drink.
The University of Alabama has a policy on under-aged drinking:
In Alabama, as the University’s student alcohol policy states, “Individuals under 21 years of age are not permitted to consume alcohol.”
The University acknowledges that:
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism college students face dire consequences due to high alcohol consumption. These estimates include:1,825 traditional aged college students (between the ages of 18 and 24) die each year due to alcohol-related injuries; 696,000 are assaulted by a peer who has been drinking; 97,000 students are victims of an alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape; 400,000 students had unprotected sex, and more than 100,000 students report to being too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex, and more than 150,000 develop an alcohol-related health problem. (2009).
The widespread use of high-tech fake IDs by students that can be used to purchase alcohol is a major obstacle in enforcing the laws that govern under-aged drinking and the University’s policy.
There is something wrong here. Drunken law students at the Homecoming Parade, football games where forbidden booze is smuggled into Bryant Denny stadium and drunken revelry at fraternity houses that would put Bacchus to shame are indicative of a Campus Booze Culture.
The theme for 2017’s Homecoming at the University of Alabama is “Sweet Home Capstone.” The lyrics of the Lynyrd Skynyrd song “Sweet Home Alabama”, which is played during football games, contain the words “Does your conscience bother you, tell the truth.”
Perhaps the seemingly unconscionable toleration of inebriation on campus by the University of Alabama’s administration is part of the problem?
There are steps that the University could take to curb the illegal use of alcohol by students, including making the use of fake IDs an expellable offense and more aggressive policing of campus activities where alcohol is served.
But on a campus where students were offered booze to vote in a local school board election for a Machine affiliated candidate that’s not likely to happen.