Student Senators voiced concerns last week about freshman drinking habits they had observed. Campus Safety and Campus Life official reports do not show a dramatic increase in reports of underaged drinking specifically involving freshmen.
Matt Milewski, junior, was one of the senators that spoke on the issue. Milewski has heard stories about freshmen who have had too much to drink being put in dangerous situations. He recalled hearing a story about a freshman who was too intoxicated to walk on their own being carried home by friends.
Milewski said at that point, Campus Safety should have been called to make sure the student was okay. Instead, friends took the student home and waited until they felt they could no longer handle the situation on their own before they called for help.
Milewski could not recall hearing as many stories as he has this year about freshman drinking during his freshman or sophomore years at Knox, but official statistics do not reflect this perception.
Nathan Kemp, Director of Campus Safety, and Eleanor Kahn, director of Campus Life, have seen an increase in reported incidents of freshman drinking, but the increase has not been dramatic or enough to be a cause for concern.
Kemp, Kahn and Milewski all see an increase in reports of underaged drinking during Fall Term every year. Milewski theorizes that newfound independence can be a factor in this spike.
Kahn had a discussion with the Campus Life Committee following the concerns raised in Student Senate. She said they came to the conclusion that there was no reason for the administration to intervene. Kahn and Milewski agree that peer education would be a better way to address the problem.
Kahn does not think any program or workshop will be as effective as peers educating each other. At this time, she does not have any plans to facilitate any conversations about drinking with students, but Kahn encouraged students to start their own campaigns on safe drinking practices.
Milewski urged upperclassmen to act responsibly at parties and serve as a role model for freshmen, some of whom may have never encountered alcohol before now.
“A lot of people say that’s on the first years,” Milewski said. “I don’t think it’s on the first years. They need examples to follow.”
Milewski said upperclassmen need to step up when they see anyone in a potentially dangerous situation, but especially freshman. Milewski recalled having upperclassmen to look up to and to guide him when he started going to parties.
“I felt that Knox was very different; that people were more caring and more responsible, and people look out for each other,” Milewski said.
Milewski said hearing about recent events led him to believe that culture is changing. He’s concerned that negligence may lead to a tragedy.
“The distance between something really, really bad and just a near-missed mistake that a person makes is very small,” Milewski said.