Editorial: Policy provides innovative curtailment to unsafe drinking

By Staff Editorial

Penn State has a bit of a reputation as a party school — last summer the Princeton Review… Penn State has a bit of a reputation as a party school — last summer the Princeton Review named it the nation’s top party school. But now, the school’s fraternities are working to reduce high-risk drinking.

Come January, Penn State fraternities will implement the use of a third party, private security agency to monitor their parties.

These monitors will make sure visitors are on a guest list and will check IDs. The objective is to keep excessive drinking, underage drinking and general rowdiness in check, according to the Associated Press.

Deserved or not, fraternity life has a reputation for its love of partying and drinking, and this new service seems an admirable contrast to this stereotype. But the measure wasn’t without a certain inspiration, and in this case, a tragic one.

When Joseph Dado, 18, of Latrobe disappeared in September after last being seen leaving a fraternity house at Penn State, he was found dead in a campus building’s stairwell not far away. He died of head trauma and had a blood alcohol level of .169 at the time of his death.

After this event, administrators and student leaders vowed to implement new ways to curb high-risk drinking. This new monitoring system in fraternity houses is an appropriate answer.

Such a program will cost money, but will be well worth it to initiate. And if the system proves successful at a school infamously known for its partying population, other schools — including Pitt — should consider adopting the program.

Historically, it often takes a tragedy to instigate change, especially in the realm of safety measures. We don’t need to wait for tragedy to strike before taking a proactive step to reduce potentially disastrous scenarios.

Pitt is a relatively smaller school and our reputation as a party school doesn’t compare to Penn State’s vehemence. It’s also worth noting that Greek organizations already have self-run risk management programs. But it would be naive to assume Pitt doesn’t have a degree of underage drinking and excessive drinking on campus.

Only good can come from placing professional monitors at the locations of some of the largest-scale social events on campus: fraternity houses. While they don’t necessarily have an excess of money, Greek organizations have the resources necessary to collectively contract with such a service.

By delegating the actual monitoring duties to a third party, Penn State involves a group that will be more objective and accountable than any other solution. They shouldn’t have any biases toward the administrative or student bodies.

By hiring professional security, Greek Life could further combat the “all-we-do-is-party” stigma and establish its fraternity houses as the safest place at Pitt to party.