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Archive for Wednesday, May 13, 1998

KANSAS UNIVERSITY AND THE LAWRENCE COMMUNITY HAVE WEATHERED THEIR SHARE OF PROBLEMS AND DEBATES CONCERNING ALCOHOL AND THE STUDENT POPULATION.

May 13, 1998

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Earlier this year, two taverns popular with KU students -- Bullwinkle's and the Jayhawk Cafe -- were temporarily closed by the state for multiple underage drinking violations.

And on March 31, a 19-year-old Kansas University freshman who had been drinking was hit by a car and killed trying to cross Tennessee Street outside Bullwinkle's, 1344 Tenn. The driver, another KU student, also had been drinking and according to preliminary reports was above the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent.

Generally, arrests for operating under the influence jumped from 91 in 1996 to 120 in 1997, according to KU police statistics.

Outside campus, Lawrence police often assign patrol cars to make bar checks during weekends. And last month, Douglas County officials estimated that more than 10 percent of felony and misdemeanor cases filed this year involved fake IDs.

Plenty of students believe the drinking laws are too strict.

In February, KU Student Senate voted 21-20 in favor of a resolution supporting the lowering of Kansas' legal drinking age, which has been 21 since 1985.

However, national and local reports of alcohol-related deaths and injuries led a number of fraternities, four at KU, to aim for alcohol-free houses by 2000.

``Our national (chapter) doesn't agree with it,'' said Shaun Stoker, KU junior and treasurer for Tau Kappa Epsilon, 1911 Stewart, which last week announced its own alcohol ban. ``We decided we weren't going to wait for them. We decided it was the right thing to do.''

Stoker added that while drinking isn't ``a huge problem at KU,'' it's pervasive enough to merit a much harder look at policies and attitudes.

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