In recent news the legal drinking age has been debated. Many are in support of lowering the drinking age to 18 years, while others are in support of keeping the drinking age at 21 years. On college campuses drinking age has become a pertinent and frequent point of discussion for administrators. Underage drinking has become a sort of epidemic that sweeps the nation. Officials are urged to enforce “Over the limit, under arrest” law. However, these laws are difficult to uphold due to the characteristics of some events. College homecomings or sport events tend to be events where drinking is done excessively and done by almost all age levels. At times campus officials choose to look the other way in favor of homecoming or game success. This illegal patronizing of underage drinking is a dilemma that officials face. Their ethics are challenged and they must choose between the responsibility of their duties versus success of the college sporting event and fan satisfaction.
It was an exciting 2006 Homecoming Week. A concert featuring musical artists Kelis and Nas, a fashion show hosted by Top Model Eva, and a Masquerade Ball attended by students dressed in the latest styles; the week ended with the main attraction: the Homecoming football game at
. Morehouse College was a sub par HBCU College Football team that 2006 year. Who actually went to the games? Students flocked in numbers, not to the game, but to the tailgate. Tailgate, year after year, had become the main attraction on the college campus. Freshman, seniors, and alumni from the surrounding schools: Morehouse College Spelman College, Morehouse College, and looked forward to the perennial event. This event is one whereby the three campuses for one day were no longer considered a “Dry Campus” and instantly at midnight was transferred into a “Wet Campus”. Students could for one day walk around all the campuses with a Budweiser in one hand and a Clark Atlanta University in the other without fear of campus police. Freshman no longer had to sneak alcohol and try to find a junior or senior to get their stash, they now could walk up to any tailgate tent and ask for a Miller Light. Young girls could get free liquor from the Greek Fraternity if they stated their undergarments were frat colors. A normally calm campus, for one day had no regard to laws, rules, and regulation. Disregard for laws, rules, and regulation was not just limited to students, but faculty, alumni, and campus police who all for one day disregarded the legal drinking age. Corona
Hitt (1990) states, “Thus, it is clear that an organization to be successful needs the guidance of a clear set of values.” (p. 16-17). These college campuses have a set value system, but are having conflicts enforcing set values when it comes to certain campus sporting events. Finding equilibrium between responsibility, homecoming success, and fan satisfaction, is proving to be difficult and is a challenge; According to Hitt (1990), “Even with the omnipresence of values in our everyday lives, we still find it difficult to “get a handle” on them.” (p.6) College Campuses will need to find a resolution to the underage drinking that occurs at sporting events and reprimand those campus officials who disregard their responsibilities vis-à- vis the law.
Reference: Hitt, W. D. (1990) . Ethics and Leadership: Putting Theory into Practice.
: Battelle Memorial Institute. Columbus, Ohio