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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

The Commonwealth Fdn: Abolish The PLCB

The Commonwealth Foundation published an forceful rebuke of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) and called for a free market solution to alcohol distribution earlier this week. At Penn State, there’s obviously a strong drinking tradition, and while some in the administration would have you believe the answer is more control and ever greater regulation of alcohol, such policies only encourage underage consumption among young men and women.

As we noted earlier this semester during prior to State Patty’s Day, the policies and programs set forth by the administration and local authorities have utterly failed in their mission of deterring or halting underage drinking and even legal overconsumption. Gone entirely from the mentality of administrators and officials is the idea that, to encourage moderation, you must allow for the possibility of overindulgence.

Just as we fall from our bicycles many times before we learn balance and control and can ride without the guide of training wheels or overly concerned parents, so to must young men and women be allowed to “fall” in order to learn that same balance and control when it comes to alcohol consumption. Take, for instance, our commentary earlier this semester on the drinking culture in State College and the administration’s well-intentioned policies.

At Penn State and in State College, the “800-lb. gorilla in the room” has long been an often reckless and irresponsible culture of alcohol abuse. Despite the best efforts by a broad coalition of concerned citizens, the statistics referenced by Bill Mahon in the Collegian article only reinforce that patterns of excessive consumption continue to persist. Undoubtedly, any and all such efforts are well intentioned, but both statistical and anecdotal evidence speak to their limited efficacy.

Safeguard Old State would submit that Prohibition failed in this country for a reason, and likewise, a narrowly-focused approach that refuses to acknowledge the presence of the “gorilla” will yield similar results here in State College today. We are reaching out to you because we genuinely care about finding better solutions to these problems and believe that Safeguard Old State, as an autonomous student voice operating outside traditional Town/Gown channels, can be an effective messenger in ways that others simply cannot. We are hoping for more than a dismissive, knee-jerk rebuttal.

The commentary featured on The Commonwealth Foundation’s website on the negative impact of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is well reasoned and important to understand whenever we discuss the drinking tradition at Penn State. I certainly don’t think the abolition of the PLCB is vital to a more responsible view on consumption from our administration, but I think it could help Pennsylvanians in general live with less of a skittish mentality when it comes to young people drinking.

From LateNight PennState to e-mails from University Health Services to Vice President for Public Relations Bill Mahon’s “Partnership,” new things must be tried in this community especially to help us rethink how we deal with alcohol. I’ve already posed the idea as stated above that allowing for overconsumption to occur among friends is the only way to foster a genuine climate of moderation.

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Ah, the good old PLCB…Pennsylvanias state owned monopoly on liquor. It irritates me that in other States, Florida for example, you can walk into Wal-mart and buy some beer, wine and liquor, but here you have to go to three damn places…grocery store for groceries, distributor for beer, and state store for wine.

The tighter the state grips, the more things slip through their fingers. The more regulation you have, the more breaking of that regulation will occur.

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