By Kelly Morton

The drinking culture at Miami University has always made headlines. From the Police Beat to the Garland Initiative to conversations with students on the Slant Walk, alcohol and this college campus are intertwined. Despite the glaring and persistent problems Miami students experience while drinking irresponsibility, The Miami Student editorial board finds, for the most part, the hype surrounding Miami’s drinking culture to be a common misperception that should be corrected.

The common Police Beat stories published in The Student each week are hardly shining examples of mature Miami students practicing safe drinking habits. But while those entertaining stories may cast a cloud over those students, it should not reflect anything about the many other Miami students who are practicing safe drinking habits. Certainly walking uptown around midnight on a weekend will open one’s eyes to the many students who unfortunately decide to drink until they become horribly drunk-yet that vocal group overshadows other Miami students who chose either not to drink or do so responsibly.

This editorial is not an endorsement of high-risk binge drinking or supporting any other dangerous behavior-it is about realizing that Miami’s drinking culture is neither unique to this campus nor able to match the inaccurate impressions many may have about this university. Indeed, drinking on college campuses is a challenge faced by nearly every U.S. school and Miami is certainly no exception. That unavoidable fact suggests that college drinking is a wider cultural problem that reaches far beyond the city limits of Oxford.

Of course on a campus level, Miami should make viable alternative activities available to students who are looking for fun and entertainment that does not revolve around drinking. And it seems as though Miami is attempting to do just that with the current campaign to build a new student union and explore ideas such as keeping the Recreational Sports Center opened later. Hopefully this positive trend will continue and students who do not drink will feel they have opportunities available to them that enable them to avoid drinking.

There are many factors that influence a Miami student’s decision to drink. From the circle of friends one might develop to the dorm a person lives in during the first year-it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly tips the scale in favor of drinking, and more importantly, drinking excessively. But ultimately that decision to drink irresponsibly is all about the freedom to make that choice and then live with the

consequences. It is this editorial board’s hope that Miami students make their decisions wisely and able to see through the hype and sensationalism that comes with the cliche of campuses being overrun by binge drinkers.

And perhaps once that misperception is overcome, even more Miami students will act more responsibly with the realization that constant drinking and immaturity is not what is expected at this school.