Two words are conspicuously absent from Penn State President Graham Spanier's Nov. 6 CDT column about excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages by students.
One is disincentive. If the university adopted and heavily publicized a policy to expel any student who is encountered in an intoxicated condition by Penn State or State College law enforcement personnel — with no warning, no probation, no refund of tuition or fees — that would be a strong disincentive. The only evidence of public drunkenness necessary should be an officer's report that a student failed a field sobriety test.
The other word absent from Spanier's column is punishment. Expulsion for public drunkenness would be punishment.
It's unclear from the column whether expulsion for public drunkenness has been tried at Penn State or other universities. If it has, it's too bad Spanier did not elaborate on the results. If it hasn't been tried, why not? Any university administrator who argues that expulsion is too draconian isn't serious about solving the problem.
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Phil Edmunds Boalsburg