Writer defends campus alcohol story in response to letter

Matt Kelly

It seems a small group of students have taken offense to a recent article of mine on the prohibition of regular alcohol use on the Washburn campus. This article was written with the sole purpose of informing students of the history of the alcohol ban here at Washburn.

The article mentioned that the regular use of alcohol has never been permitted on campus, that the Campus Activities Board tried and fail to reverse the policy, and the Washburn University Board of Regents has been inconsistent in their enforcement of policy by allowing the use of alcohol at events of their choosing.

Having mentioned these things, I realized that I had only mentioned opinions held on one side of the issue, the side of CAB in their attempt to reverse the policy. Realizing this, I decided it would be best to include a quote from someone who agreed with the policy.

I sought out my former English professor, Sean Bird, who has always been very outspoken when it comes to his stance on the dry campus policy. Bird shared his testimony for the article, explaining that excessive alcohol use had contributed to him failing his first semester of college. It was not by accident that I chose an individual who had not only had issues with excessive alcohol use, but had also gone on to be successful in his field of choice.

My news article was 600 words long (which is what my editor asked for). At no point in this short recap of campus history did I mention my opinion, or any opinion held by the Review. However, the aforementioned small group of students apparently felt that there was an opinion to be gleaned from the article that was in favor of the dry campus.

Although I’m not exactly sure how they interpreted the article this way, I’m assuming it was because I didn’t include any quotes from students opposed to the dry campus policy. In other words, they felt that the 600-word article was biased because it did not contain a representation of their view, despite the fact that it was not an opinion piece.

I respect the fact that these students are passionate about their beliefs, and that they had the courage to stand up for what they believe in. I only wish I was in favor of the dry campus policy, and the article was an opinion piece, in which case I would simply respond by saying, “it’s my right to publish what I want,” but alas, I don’t care whether the campus is dry or not, and I care even less about politics in general.

Most college students love the idea of being activists for what they believe in (myself included), but In this case, I think they jumped the gun a bit. They should have waited until someone actually disagreed with them before they decided to “take issue.” However, if they enjoy finding the underlying meaning in what they read, I would suggest that they do so with poetry.