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Thirsty Thursday under attack

Jenna Johnson

In an effort to combat dangerous underage drinking, the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stout (yeah, that's really its name) has come up with a rather unpopular plan: A full schedule of Friday classes in an effort to kill Thirsty Thursday.

"National research has shown that students who have Friday classes tend to drink less on Thursday nights than those who don't," Chancellor Charles Sorensen wrote in an e-mail to students and faculty members last week. So, starting this fall, the university will schedule a "full complement of classes" on Fridays.

In addition to no-fun-Fridays, the university is also taking alcohol-related violations more seriously. Students caught drinking underage, using a fake ID, buying alcohol for minors, hosting house parties, committing drunken vandalism, harming oneself or others, or any other violation will face serious punishment, up to and including suspension. The university is also partnering with city officials to crack down on the hosts and attendees of large house parties, outlaw drink specials, hold landlords accountable for partying renters and require keg registration, the Leader-Telegram reports.

The chancellor said these drastic measures are needed to keep students safe and alive. In the past two years, there have been six alcohol-related student deaths, in addition to serious injuries, sexual assaults, fires caused by careless smoking, drunken driving and felony criminal charges.

"I firmly believe that we have a moral and an ethical obligation to pursue all reasonable avenues to address alcohol abuse by our students," Sorensen wrote in the e-mail. "I am asking the entire UW-Stout community to join with me in reducing high-risk drinking that is ruining the bright futures of too many of our students."

Nearly immediately, students responded with outrage, although some acknowledge that binge drinking is a problem. Students quickly created a Facebook group, that has nearly 1,500 members, "Who Is the chancelor trying to kid? This is Stout!!!" (One of the posters makes the snarky comment, "Proud am I to go to a school where we can't spell chancellor correctly.")

On the wall of the Facebook group, students argued back and forth on the issue.

A sophomore opined: "My stance, in short, is that there are better ways to encourage students to drink responsibly... We live in Wisconsin and yes drinking is part of our culture, but making rash decisions is not the right course of action in my opinion... God Speed Stout, Lets take back OUR campus!"

Another student countered by saying: "We're here to go to school and get a future, if you want to just party, go somewhere else."

A senior offered this sage advice: "Everyone just take all online classes.... then every night can be a Thursday night.... heck take you laptop to the bar."

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By Jenna Johnson  |  April 8, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Night Life  | Tags: University of Wisconsin  
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The name of the university is not alcohol related. Rather, the university is named for its founder. The move to include more Friday classes is also to give students more choice in creating class schedules, not ONLY to curb binge drinking.

Posted by: brownama | April 9, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

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