All Posts Tagged With: "drinking"
Instead of drinking, focus on the sex predators next door
Last month, hundreds paraded through the campus of the University of British Columbia to protest sexual violence, speciﬁcally six unsolved late-night outdoor attacks on female students since April. A hooded predator prowling dark grounds in search of coeds is a familiar conceit, one that informs how we think of sexual violence on campuses. Recently it was given airing in a Toronto Life story that claimed increased safety measures at Toronto’s York University, where women receive “rape whistles” at orientation, haven’t prevented campus grounds from being “a hunting ground for sexual predators.” (The school has taken legal action, claiming the article “presents a wholly distorted picture of women’s safety on the campus.”) Yet the UBC march to “Take Back the Night”—a rallying cry since the ’70s—bristled with more nuanced references to the reality of campus sexual assault, the vast majority of which are never reported nor easily framed in black-and-white terms. Signs held high connected the current attacks with entrenched “rape culture”—sexual violence being ignored, condoned and normalized, witnessed in the “rape chant” on the UBC campus in September. Other placards decried the RCMP reporting some UBC victims were wearing short skirts: “My little black dress does not mean yes,” read one.
UBC administration responded to concerns and fear with predictable reassurances. President Stephen Toope described the university as “one of the safest campuses in North America” and announced “unprecedented police and security measures to make sure students feel safe.”
Cheerleader ticketed for cheering on homecoming weekend
When members of Western’s cheerleading team launched a member into the air on their way to the football game this weekend against Queen’s, their attempt to boost school spirit during homecoming was rewarded with a $140 fine. London Police deemed the demonstration “a nuisance” and ticketed head cheerleader Max Gow.
The team’s coach told the London Free Press he and Gow plan to fight the ticket. That won’t surprise anyone. What will is that this fine was just one of 270 issued during Saturday’s celebration. The number might seem high to outsiders but students here are used to the annual ticketing blitz know as “Project LEARN” (Liquor Enforcement and Reduction of Noise), when party, noise and litter bylaws are strictly enforced for the first month of classes. Many students, myself included, think the campaign targets us unfairly.
What this town needs is a Magic Bus
Drunken students from the University of Sherbrooke have caused so much trouble that bus drivers say they will no longer pick them up.
It’s a common problem in university towns: hordes of inexperienced drinkers hobbling onto buses late at night with unhealthy amounts of vodka sodas sloshing around inside leading to vandalism, violence, public displays of affection and spilled Chinese take-out noodles.
This policy may, however, be a first. Sherbrooke’s Student Federation is calling it discriminatory. It’s hard to argue with that but they’d be wise to drop the fight and do what college governments at the University of Guelph did many years ago in response to similar problems: create a magic bus.
Why you should always go straight home after the bar
Students from two Ontario universities are no longer in legal trouble for dumb things they did while drunk but their cases serve as reminders that youthful indiscretions don’t just disappear.
At least not when newspapers write about the cases allowing Google searches to forever link names to drunken behvaiour that some (though not all) potential employers will look down upon.
Exhibit A: Two University of Guelph students, both 19, pleaded guilty this week to mischief for shooting passing cars with paintballs around 2 a.m. one January morning. They apologized and got absolute discharges from a judge but the Guelph Mercury still printed their names.
Why young people shouldn’t fear photos with beer
One morning in 2011, a 24-year-old Georgia high school teacher named Ashley Payne was called down to the office of her school’s principal and given an ultimatum. She could resign from her position or be fired. She hadn’t looked at a student the wrong way or practised corporal punishment. She had had a drink. To be precise, she had two—a glass of wine and a pint of beer, simultaneously, on a European vacation in 2009. The problem, though, was that a picture of this minor indulgence made its way onto Facebook, where—despite Payne using the site’s highest privacy settings—someone saw it, and brought it to the attention of the school’s principal. Payne took the high road: She resigned.
The “Facebook firing” is now an unfortunate fixture in Western professional culture, a warning to the working population at large that normal social behaviour, when captured and chronicled online, is aberrant and offensive. Having a beer after work—sometimes with your colleagues—is a socially acceptable activity. But upload a picture of that socially acceptable activity onto the Internet and it is rendered unacceptable. More than half of modern-day employers screen job applicants’ social media profiles for pictures like the one that implicated Payne, which means that this trend in cyberprohibition isn’t just getting people fired—it’s preventing them from getting hired, as well.
Young drinkers show worrisome cellular changes
You already know that binge drinking is bad for your brain and perhaps your reputation (if you’re prone to beer goggles), but here’s another reason to abstain. A new study shows immediate changes in blood circulation among binge drinkers aged 18 to 25 that resemble what older people with cardiovascular diseases experience, suggesting an increased risk of heart attacks or strokes later in life. U.S. researchers looked at two groups of healthy nonsmoking college students with mostly similar backgrounds. One group had a history of binge drinking (five or more standard drinks in the space of two hours) and the other group shunned alcohol altogether. The binge drinkers had impaired function in the endothelium and smooth muscle cells, which are needed for proper blood flow. The study is to be published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
To really reduce drinking, hit students where it hurts
The City of Ottawa has decided to tackle binge drinking among young adults, but I think their campaign is unlikely to be effective.
Indeed, drinking is a problem in the city. Binge drinking rose by nine per cent between 2000 and 2011 and causes 110 deaths and 970 hospitalizations per year among Ottawa adults, according to Ottawa Public Health. Three quarters of young adult males reported binge drinking, defined as more than five drinks in one sitting.
All this isn’t surprising. During frosh week, for example, drinking culture is celebrated among a fresh crop of students. University of Ottawa student organizers send willing first-years to Hull, Quebec where the drinking age is 18 and they can toast their new found freedom. While there are also non-drinking frosh events, turnout is low.
Continue reading City of Ottawa to promote ‘culture of moderation’
Why I hope this venture goes ahead
When the Alma Mater Society here at the University of British Columbia revealed last year that the planned new Student Union Building (SUB) will house a brewery, students were overjoyed at the prospect of cheap, local craft beer.
Not only would a SUB brewery add some flavour to UBC’s decidedly drab cuisine, it would also significantly up the ante of our campus culture. Right now, our coolness factor is suffering. Our version of the Harlem Shake has only 156,000 views on YouTube. The University of Toronto’s has more than 2.2 million views, even beating out that legendary Lip Dub we made last year (remember that?) with its mere two million views.
Five things students are talking about today (February 21st)
1. It must be especially difficult to be gay and a Mormon right? Well it may have just become easier. Jimmy Hales, a student at Brigham Young University, decided to come out to his friends and family while recording their reactions. Most of them were surprisingly supportive—if a bit shocked. In a blog post he writes that he will never get married and plans stay celibate his whole life, but he’s happy with the acceptance he’s found. That may not be the ideal situation for most gay youth, but it seems to work fine for him.
2. It’s less than a month until the only holiday where students feel justified drinking before noon: St. Patrick’s Day. In anticipation of excessive drinking, one U.S. college, Penn State, has a daring plan. They’re going to pay 34 downtown bars, restaurants and shops $5,000 each to not sell alcohol that day, reports The Associated Press. It’s happening because of complaints from the community. The city hasn’t had a St. Paddy’s Day like that one last year in London, Ont.
What students are talking about today (February 12th)
1. CrossFit, the intense group workout craze, has found a following at Queen’s University where a Facebook page calling for it to be offered in the campus Athletics and Recreation Centre has more than 500 likes. But the ARC powers-that-be are concerned the instructor who wants to offer it isn’t certified as a personal trainer or an employee. They also say the exercises could have health consequences. The Queen’s Journal isn’t buying the explanation, citing the fact that student-run fencing and archery clubs already use the gym.
2. Science, yes science, has determined that underage American alcohol drinkers are sticking to a relatively small number of, what are in my opinion, dreadful tasting brands. Almost 28 per cent of the 13 to 20-year-old study participants drank Bud Light within the past month, 17 per cent guzzled Smirnoff malt beverages, 15 per cent downed regular Budweiser and 13 per cent sipped on Coors Light. Researchers at Boston University and Johns Hopkins surveyed 1,032 teens online. Their paper is published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
What students are talking about today (February 1st)
1. Nothing gets students more riled up than when you try to curb unhealthy binge drinking. The University of Ottawa proposed banning shots and limiting beer pitchers to groups of three people or more, but is reconsidering after a backlash from students. Anne-Marie Roy, spokesperson of the Student Federation at the University, told CBC News that the bars they run on campus are safe for students and that such restrictions would hurt revenues. (Not to mention the fact that students would probably just go somewhere else if they wanted shots or pitchers anyway.) Speaking of drinking, a new study shows that too much alcohol leads to Type 2 diabetes in rats. Just saying.
2. The federal Liberal leadership candidates are touring campuses. Justin Trudeau spoke at Brandon University in Manitoba on Thursday where he talked about broadening the party’s support and creating jobs. Marc Garneau was at the University of Prince Edward Island earlier this week where he told The Cadre he would help solve joblessness through a tax credit to employers who hire young people and capital gains exemptions for angel investors who invest in a start-ups.
What students are talking about today (January 30th)
1. Almost a year after the start of anti-tuition marches that shut down many Quebec university programs and later toppled the Jean Charest government, the new Parti Quebecois government says zero tuition is not currently feasible, surely disappointing many of the activists who got the PQ elected. Meanwhile, François Legault, leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec, is trying to make the anti-tuition supporters heads explode by proposing a two-tier system of tuition in which the provinces “top four” universities—Montreal, McGill, Laval and Sherbrooke—would set their own tuition fees, while the remaining 14 would become much more affordable teaching-focused universities. The idea of two-tier education with research and teaching universities isn’t new and it isn’t very popular in Canada, but there’s a reason it never goes away—it could potentially work. Read more on Legault’s plan here.
What students are talking about today (January 2nd)
1. If 2011 was the year of Occupy Wall Street, 2013 may be the year that the rich get punished, if only just a little bit. The United States avoided its “fiscal cliff” after Congress passed a deal that includes tax increases for those who make more than $450,000—roughly the richest one per cent. They will now pay just under 40 per cent income tax, up from about 35 per cent. Meanwhile in France—where Socialist president Francois Hollande has made no attempt to hide his distaste for the rich—the country’s highest court, citing unfairness, rejected a top tax rate of 75 per cent. The French government plans to try again. In Canada the tax increases are more equitable: everyone will pay more in Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance premiums this year. Yay!
2. Meanwhile, the CCPA reports that the typical executive among Canada’s top 100 highest paid will earn the equivalent of the median Canadian paycheque—$46,000—by noon today. The good news for OWS supporters is that average executive pay fell eight per cent last year to $7.7 million. And this might make you feel better about your future earnings: $34,000 puts you in the richest one per cent globally, according to a World Bank economist. The median salary worldwide is $1,225.
SAIT’s two-drink limit, bedbugs & Transgender Day
1. In case you needed more evidence that binge drinking is a pervasive problem on Canadian campuses consider this: SAIT in Calgary is imposing a new rule on the student-owned pub that limits patrons to two drinks before 3 p.m. and outlaws mid-day shooters, reports CBC.
2. Ryerson is the latest school to deal with a bedbug epidemic in student residences. The university has eight confirmed cases so far this year, reports The Ryersonian. As Maclean’s discovered two years ago, the problem is fairly common across Canada. Here are five things you should know about these biting beasts.
3. Despite the fact that Hamas, the terrorist group that runs Gaza, celebrated the bombing of a city bus in Tel Aviv that injured 22 people, a cease-fire with Israel was announced Wednesday in Cairo.
Smart elephants, aggressive panhandlers & the Whitecaps
1. An elephant in a South Korean zoo is using his trunk to mimic human words. Koshik can reproduce five words by tucking his trunk inside his mouth to modulate sound. He can mouth, in Korean, hello, sit down, no, lie down and good. It’s not clear whether he understands the words.
2. Unlike in the past, students at Kwantlen University will now only be allowed to vote for a single student association “constituency representative” that they self-identify with, according to the student association’s chief returning officer, Corey Van’t Haaff. The KSA has positions reserved for “seven groups who have historically faced unique challenges.” The seven groups are mature students, queer students, international students, students of colour, those with disabilities, aboriginal students and women. Read up on the latest in identity politics in The Runner.
3. Alcohol has been linked to deaths and assaults on Canadian campuses. Ken MacQueen goes deeper into what universities are doing to fight risky drinking, like butt-chugging (which is no joke).
Inside the war against risky drinking on campus
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
When outraged members of Pi Kappa Alpha at the University of Tennessee called a news conference in September to protest the suspension of their fraternity due to allegations of strange and excessive alcohol abuse, two words sprang to mind: Animal House. The news conference, immortalized on YouTube, is so unintentionally bizarre that it could be mistaken for an outtake from the subversive 1978 frat-boy comedy that launched a million toga parties and countless hangovers. The press conference—featuring a bow-tied, dead-serious Southern lawyer backed by an angelic legion of fraternity members in their Sunday suits—was called to refute allegations that one of their own, 20-year-old Alexander P. Broughton, had indulged in “butt-chugging” massive quantities of wine. While there was no denying that Broughton was hospitalized with alcohol poisoning after a night of fraternity drinking games, the idea of an alcohol enema is “repulsive” to Broughton, his lawyer said. “He is a straight man.”
Dangerous drinking, First World Problems & free textbooks
1. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to report this, but public safety is at risk (seriously). A University of Tennessee student was hospitalized with a dangerously high blood-alcohol level after his fraternity, which has now been suspended until at least 2015, allegedly gave him an alcohol enema. Students call this “butt-chugging.” The apparent victim denies it, but such things have happened. At least one student died this way in 2005, according to Inside Higher Education.
2. This could be a game-changer. California’s governor has signed a law that will make more than 50 core textbooks free to download. Hard copies will cost just $20. I’ll bet it’s only a matter of time before this idea catches on here.
3. A Queen’s Journal columnist has explored the trend of #FirstWorldProblems after a life-changing event that happened while waiting in line with a friend for a latte. “We were informed that our Starbucks rewards no longer included free flavour shots,” writes Trilby Goouch. “As regular flavour shot users, we were both a little rattled by this new information.” First World Problems indeed.
London shooting, Regina theft and Toronto mega-project
1. Students at Western University in London, Ont. had their homecoming weekend marred by the shooting death of 21-year-old Terrell Johnson off-campus early Sunday. A 28-year-old man was also taken to hospital. Joshua Carter, 22, is charged with second-degree murder.
2. Hannim Nur, the student who resigned from her post as president of the University of Regina’s Students’ Union (URSU), did so because she stole $700 of student money from the Canadian Federation of Students Saskatchewan by forging signatures on cheques when she was Chair. A statement from CFS-S says that the money was repaid and that they’ve updated procedures to reduce the chance of it happening again. Questions remain as to why Nur continued to work at URSU after she admitted the forgery to CFS.
3. A proposed mega-development on King Street in Toronto will house a whole lot of people in three 80-story condo towers. It will also include two museums and facilities for nearby OCAD University. The design is by Frank Gehry and the funding is from theatre king David Mirvish. Tweeters have compared the design to a tipped-over recycling bin, but Edward Keenan of The Grid points out that Gehry’s early sketch of the now-loved Art Gallery of Ontario once raised eyebrows too.
Freshman 15, politics in the classroom & anger at OCAD U.
1. Yesterday there was a flash sale from Chartwells at the University of Prince Edward Island during which poutine was 50 per cent off for a few hours. Cadre reporter Josh Coles took on the breaking news assignment: “This poutine was weighty. Heavy. Thick. I would compare its weight to that of a litre of chocolate milk,” he wrote.
2. The poutine and chocolate milk diet seems like evidence for that legendary Freshman 15 weight gain, but another study suggests the weight gain isn’t really 15 pounds. Researchers from Auburn University in Alabama showed that the Freshman 15 is really more like the Four-Year 12. After four years at the college, students in the study had gained an average of 11.7 pounds.
3. Homecoming will likely make a homecoming next year at Queen’s University after students finally behaved in public with just 12 arrests over the weekend compared to 124 in 2008. In an email sent Monday to the Queen’s community, Principal Daniel Woolf wrote that he’s working with “various members of our community, including alumni, to plan for the potential safe return of fall reunions in 2013.” The University Council asked Woolf to reinstate the tradition, which was barred after many years of alcohol-related arrests. See The Perils of Drinking on Canadian Campuses for more.