Weaning off the bottle

By Lara-Lee Rothwell

The excessive consumption of alcohol by Rhodes students has reached a peak where action needs to be taken. Thus the Alcohol Misuse Policy has made itself more prominent recently, despite having existed for
years prior to now. Drafted by the Dean of Students, Professor Vivian De Klerk, this policy was created to instil the students with a sense of responsibility while consuming alcohol. But, some conflicting student opinion has surfaced in opposition to this policy.

Problems have arisen with the increase in alcohol consumption. “Last year, four deaths were a direct result of it,” said De Klerk. Other issues include: “sexual assault, rape, destruction, noise as well as seeding alcoholism to those students that are prone to drinking.” Coinciding with this policy is the Liquor By-Law
implemented by the Makana Municipality which strives to regulate the operating times of pubs in the Grahamstown area.

Students are highly urged to abide by the guidelines set out by the policy as this will reduce drunken and disorderly behaviour. Such behaviour “is a negative influence on the Rhodes reputation,” said De Klerk.

Another conflicting issue relates to certain societies that function by hosting huge parties in aid of charity. These amazingly well-supported events bring in large sums of money where a large portion is donated to charity organisations. Despite the good cause of this event, excessive amounts of alcohol are consumed on this occasion, placing many students in a vulnerable state. Etienne Stalmans, a first year BCom student who is a member of a related society expressed himself by saying that “The Alcohol Misuse Policy is a good thing because certain events are no longer used for their intended purpose (ie: fund raising or raising awareness) but are instead promoting excessive drinking.” A third year Law student said: “I’m for the
policy but I don’t think it has teeth.”

With the emphasis on the Alcohol Misuse Policy, some students are beginning to wonder if their student privileges are at risk of being retracted. Privileges such as controlled drinking in res or availability of alcohol at cheese and wine evenings or associated functions.

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