Call Me a Pro-Alcohol Conservative (i guess)
There would seem to be a lesson here for folks prone to the sort of ultra-decisive decision making that occurred on the University of Rhode Island campus between the time when I was impressed, as a high school student, with URI’s reputation as a party school and the time when I found myself there after a few years of wandering:
LONGTIME RESIDENTS say the tension between students and homeowners has gotten worse over the years as people have sold their homes to escape the weekend disturbances, leaving more houses in the hands of seasonal residents and landlords. According to U.S. Census figures, more than 38 percent of the homes in town were rentals in 2000, the fourth-highest figure among Rhode Island communities.
Things got worse in 1995, longtime residents say, when URI banned alcohol on campus, sending more partying Narragansett’s way.
One of the most tragic and high-profile incidents involving URI students in Narragansett occurred last year, when three students got into a rowboat and headed out onto Narragansett Bay, where they drowned. Witnesses told the police the students had been drinking, though the police said it was unclear what role alcohol might have played.
The Narragansett/URI Coalition, a body of community leaders, URI administrators and students, started meeting in 2000 to address the alcohol/partying issue, but two of the most tangible responses came in 2005, when URI expanded its disciplinary reach to include off-campus behavior and the Narragansett council adopted the first version of the nuisance ordinance.
I remember those parties down the line. I also remember the regular, well, poor decisions that those forced miles away to find bars would often make. The Kingston campus is not like others that I’ve seen that have bars available within walking distance.
Sometimes, policies have to accommodate — rather than seek to quash — undesirable behavior in order to avoid that cascade of unforeseen consequences.