Underage drinking debatable issue

Tanya Marsh

Tanya Marsh

Students under 21 drinking – it’s an event certainly not unheard of for SDSU students. But whether or not underage drinking is a problem depends on point of view.

A 23-year-old senior civil engineering student doesn’t think the state of underage drinking is anything unusual.

“It just seems normal, like any other place – a little less, even,” he said.

A brief look at numbers from Brookings and Vermillion may show that, at least compared to SDSU’s rival the University of South Dakota, he is right.

For the 2003-2004 academic year, the Brookings Police Depart-ments reported 349 citations for underage drinking. In the same time span, Vermillion police reported 433 citations for underage drinkers between the ages of 18 and 20.

This school year, the tides may be changing. Since September Brookings police report 313 citations, with Vermillion hitting just 245.

With these statistics showing SDSU and USD a close match, another question still remains: even if it’s typical, is it a problem?

A 20-year-old junior thinks so, because so many people participate and suffer the consequences.

“The choices you make aren’t yours [when you drink],” she said, a social drinker who said she drinks about once a month.

A freshman biology major, 19, said he’s drunk twice this year and says most underage people he knows do drink. He blames it on an unfulfilling social scene.

“I think the size of the town is a huge part of why [people drink],” he said. “You just hear people say all the time ‘There’s nothing else to do.’ “

Though he thinks more activities would solve the problem, others disagree.

“I think there are more people underage who drink than over 21,” a 21-year-old junior from Serbia said. “The fact that you are not supposed to do it.”

Coming from a country with no drinking age, she noted, “I think if people were allowed to drink and go out, [underage drinking] wouldn’t be such a problem. They would probably still drink and go out but it wouldn’t be binge drinking like it usually is at that age.”

She doesn’t think any offering of on- or off-campus events would deter young drinkers.

A 21-year-old senior who has been drinking 10 to 12 beers three times a week since before he hit legal age agreed.

“College kids drink – it’s just the way it is,” he said.

#1.885455:3397241164.jpg:drinking, mike.jpg:While some students consider underage drinking a problem at SDSU, others believe it is just behavior typical of college students.: