Report: Heavy drinking persists at Stanford, despite university efforts | March 8, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 8, 2019

Report: Heavy drinking persists at Stanford, despite university efforts

Survey shows most 'high risk' behaviors among frosh increased since 2011-12

by Elena Kadvany

For most of the last decade, at least one Stanford University student on average has gone to the emergency room every week due to alcohol poisoning, an alcohol-related injury or both.

This story contains 851 words.

Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.

If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.

Log in     Subscribe

Staff Writer Elena Kadvany can be emailed at ekadvany@paweekly.com.

Comments

16 people like this
Posted by Alcohol Is The Great Stress Reducer
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2019 at 7:12 pm

from the PA Weekly:
"Students were also asked about their reasons for consuming alcohol. The top four reasons, according to the survey results, are to have a good time with friends, to celebrate, to feel connected to the people and to get drunk."

I've been told that weekend college binge drinking is also a stress reducer...being that it would be highly impractical & unrealistic to get heavily intoxicated during the school week due to class workload.

This is normal college behavior (albeit destructive) but it has been going on for decades at colleges & universities throughout the nation.

Curbing it would be nearly impossible as the pressure to succeed in school can be insurmountable depending on the academic environment.

Hypothesis: Less stress = less binge drinking...as witnessed among many community college students & those in trade schools.

Unfortunately a pattern of heavy drinking can continue past the university environment due to he job pressure and stress of a professional occupation/career.

Winding-down via heavy drinking is the classic 'go to' stress reliever in America...and it always has been.

Yoga & meditation don't cut it for most individuals & even a couple of glasses of wine before/with dinner will take precedence over any Eastern-inspired alternative.


6 people like this
Posted by Redmond Turk
a resident of Gunn High School
on Mar 6, 2019 at 11:00 am

Redmond Turk is a registered user.

>> "Hypothesis: Less stress = less binge drinking...as witnessed among many community college students & those in trade schools."

Here's some data to negate that hypothesis. List of US college towns with the most alcohol consumption:
Web Link
which includes Chico State, West Virginia University, Montana State University which are presumably less stress than UT Austin, U of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and U of Wisconsin Madison. So possibly, there's no correlation between stress and excessive drinking.


Like this comment
Posted by vocational home
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Mar 6, 2019 at 11:10 am

> Chico State, West Virginia University, Montana State University which are presumably less stress than UT Austin, U of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and U of Wisconsin Madison.

Is there an implication that those state schools listed are actually community colleges? Or are trade schools?


6 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 6, 2019 at 11:13 am

Green Gables is a registered user.

Those people - students or otherwise - who drink to release stress and do not drink when working or going to school, are called CONTROLLED ALCOHOLICS. Let a student go to the hospital for alcohol poisoning once and the second time, kick the student out of school. They will learn quickly.


12 people like this
Posted by Drink Responsibly
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 6, 2019 at 12:08 pm

How come the Italians & French don't have a problem with college-age drinking?

Is it because their children imbibe in wine at an early age & establish a certain sense of drinking responsibility?

Granted, there must be some problem drinkers in Italy & France BUT...I also understand that AA is considered a joke in those countries...an acknowledged problem only in America.

Is this a product of denial or responsible drinking habits?


6 people like this
Posted by Kate
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 6, 2019 at 5:10 pm

After seeing additional aisles dedicated to alcohol at CVS in the Town and Country Mall, I asked at the cash register who is purchasing the alcohol? Their answer was Stanford students!!!!


2 people like this
Posted by Alcohol Is The Great Stress Reducer
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 6, 2019 at 5:31 pm

> After seeing additional aisles dedicated to alcohol at CVS in the Town and Country Mall, I asked at the cash register who is purchasing the alcohol? Their answer was Stanford students!!!!

I haven't been to a CVS for awhile. Is their alcohol inventory strictly beer & wine or do they also stock distilled spirits?


2 people like this
Posted by Phil
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 6, 2019 at 6:07 pm

I was told by a manager for CVS that alcohol and candy sales are what keeps the “Lights on”. They have some of the lowest prices for these items.


6 people like this
Posted by bill
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 6, 2019 at 7:00 pm

This is why Leland Stanford wanted Palo Alto - and his University - to be a DRY. But People found a way around it with Whiskey Gulch and Mayfield as close places to buy liquor - but the truth is he was right, alcohol is generally trouble for young people, and many others.


10 people like this
Posted by AnthroMan
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 7, 2019 at 10:02 am

quote from the PA Weekly...

"Students were also asked about their reasons for consuming alcohol. The top four reasons, according to the survey results, are to have a good time with friends, to celebrate, to feel connected to the people and to get drunk."

This is a venerable tribal custom throughout the course of human history & pre-history. All cultures participate in this activity whether the individuals are in college or not. The substances may vary but the shared activity is the same...as aforementioned in the quote from the Palo Alto Weekly article.

Drinking (whether binge, social or out of loneliness)cannot be stopped or monitored effectively. Lessons learned from Prohibition-era USA illustrated the lunacy of any attempts decades ago.

As far as drinking & sex is concerned...there is a sign at that dive bar on California Avenue (The Nut House) that reads: "Drinking Before Pregnancy Can Cause Pregnancy" & these words should be taken into consideration by all parties involved.



8 people like this
Posted by Alcohol fueled parties are here to stay
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2019 at 11:13 am

If you want a dry campus go to BYU, alcohol fueled parties are a fact of life on nearly every American campus has been for many decades, nothing will change. Those who engage in binge drinking highly increase their chances of being either the perpetrator or victim of sexual assualt, however it's not PC to say that, but it is the absolute truth.


Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 7, 2019 at 11:52 am

There’s a new young adult movement called Sober Curious. These are not alcoholics or teetotalkers, but persons who want to socialize in a big city environment without heavy liquor usage.
My advice: be careful about your fun, excessive drinking- your liver may get damaged and you’ll have medical consequences. This is on the rise fir young people, not worth it.


Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 7, 2019 at 11:54 am

*teetotallers (non drinkers from prudishness) - that is a separate type of person.


8 people like this
Posted by Not just your liver damaged...
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2019 at 12:50 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Madison/16
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 7, 2019 at 1:19 pm

I am abstaining from any sexual activity until I am legally married & alcohol consumption until I am 21...although I do smoke weed.

It's the right thing to do (avoiding sex & alcohol that is).

My father says most high school boys are only interested in two things...eating & sex. Judging by my older brother actions, he may be correct.


1 person likes this
Posted by Me
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 7, 2019 at 5:52 pm

Alcohol is allowed in the dorms, with no punishment if caught. It is kept out in the open in freshmen dorm rooms, easy for RAs to see. When I was in school, alcohol in the dorms was not allowed and you were kicked out if caught. Sure it happened, but it much less of a degree. 1 kid a week with alcohol poisoning is astonishing! Make it a dry campus, and mean it! 21 is the legal drinking age.


4 people like this
Posted by AllYouCanEat
a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 8, 2019 at 8:58 am

"Judging by my older brother actions, he may be correct."

LOL!


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2019 at 9:27 am

When it comes down to it, alcohol on college campuses is a sign of the culture wars. The fact that most students are away from home and parental control in college before they actually reach drinking age means that drinking is a sign of a rite of passage that comes with the territory of underage drinking. If alcohol could be legally drank with parents in a social setting with food, the individuals would have more of an idea of how alcohol affects them. By sending a message that alcohol is for "adults - called adult beverages" we are in fact making it sound that drinking alcohol turns a young person into an adult. They feel that turning the magic age of 21 means that they can drink as much as they like whenever they like because they are now magically old enough to understand how to do it legally.

There is a sad reality that no matter how much parents slap sunscreen on their young children in the sun at the pool or the beach, a time will come when those children go to the beach with friends for the first time and forget the parental message of wear sunscreen. They come home with sunburn so bad for the very first time that they finally understand what their parents meant. The same can be said about alcohol. We have a culture that tells those same teen children that alcohol is bad for you and when you turn 21 you can start drinking responsibly because your body is mature enough to handle it. The college student sees available alcohol with no controls, thinks that they can handle it, but have no idea of how it might affect them because it is something they have never had experience of.

The message that society is sending about alcohol is not working. It is time that the message was rethought and responsible alcohol consumption is taught in the home by parents and not by college campuses that are unable to do so.


4 people like this
Posted by Anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 8, 2019 at 9:37 am

.....And these are going to be our future doctors! Remember Brock Turner? He wanted to become a surgeon.


9 people like this
Posted by Flavio
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2019 at 1:15 pm

Why so many Americans have problem with drinking? I am from Palermo & began drinking wine at 4. Well water is sometimes tainted.

We have no AA in Italy. Only fools drink to excess & while there are many fools who do, it is not a problem in our society.

Why cannot Americans drink responsibly? I went to watch NFL football game in Oakland & even the adults cannot drink within reason.

Too many DUIs in America too.

Maybe Prohibition good for Americans as they don't know when to stop.


6 people like this
Posted by NFL Fan
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 9, 2019 at 10:18 am

"Why cannot Americans drink responsibly? I went to watch NFL football game in Oakland & even the adults cannot drink within reason."

Drinking relieves tension & football being an aggressive, violent sport allows people to vicariously experience hitting other people. That's why it is the most popular sport in America.

Go to Levi's Stadium (49er home) & you will witness the same occurrences.
My grandfather used to go to Kezar Stadium to watch the 49ers play back in the 1950s & 60s. Players often wore their helmets while retreating into the tunnel to the clubhouse to prevent being hit with beer bottles.

They only allow paper cups of beer now.


Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2019 at 11:13 am

Football is a great sport, but it is not the most popular sport in America because of the aggression and violence. It is the most popular sport in America because it is tailor made for gambling!


5 people like this
Posted by Michah
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2019 at 11:46 am

I went to Stanford in the 80's. It was a joke then and is a worse joke now.
I got a much better education when I was an undergraduate at UC(down south) then I ever received in Graduate School at Stanford.
The students at Stanford are obsessed with partying, drinking, money and cheating. Going to Stanford was the biggest mistake - wish I'd gone to Carnegie Mellon instead, but I wanted to be on the West Coast.
Do yourself a favor. Don't go to Stanford or sent your kids there.
This article above is just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to Stanford's complete lack of moral compass and speaks volumes about the poor quality of it's students.


2 people like this
Posted by Ramble & Gamble On
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 9, 2019 at 12:35 pm

> Football is a great sport, but it is not the most popular sport in America because of the aggression and violence. It is the most popular sport in America because it is tailor made for gambling!

Football will soon be replaced as America's favorite gambling sport. Major league Baseball has approved gambling & there are so many statistical factors to consider that baseball will eventually replace football as its #1 gambling activity.

Pete Rose & the 1919 Chicago Black Sox should be exonerated.


6 people like this
Posted by Jeanine/UC Berkeley
a resident of another community
on Mar 9, 2019 at 3:03 pm

As a practicing and devout member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, I abhor drinking in any form along with premarital fornication.

Though many of my college classmates partake in weekend drinking & casual sex, I find their actions repulsive & demeaning but I am not one to judge.

The human body is a temple & it must not be denigrated by vice.

In keeping myself pure until I am married, my future husband will be assured that he is marrying a clean woman.

My uncle says it is similar in many ways to buying an automobile. Would a man prefer one with excessive mileage on the odometer or a brand new car?


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2019 at 4:35 pm

Posted by Michah, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> I went to Stanford in the 80's. It was a joke then and is a worse joke now. I got a much better education when I was an undergraduate at UC(down south) then I ever received in Graduate School at Stanford.

Perhaps that was true in the business school, but, I don't accept that as true in engineering/science, then or now. There has always been a large gap between undergrad and grad school at Stanford. There are certain things about Stanford that I have griped about in posts here, but, Stanford is obviously serious about grad programs especially in engineering/science.

As far the undergrad drinking/party scene, it is a big problem at Stanford, but, it is also a big problem on so many other campuses, especially big residential+big-sports schools. As someone said, maybe not at BYU, but, almost everywhere else. The alumni/donor culture/events seem to encourage it. You would have thought that Stanford's $26B endowment would have insulated it from the need to cater to that, but, check out the alumni party scene outside an early fall football game some time-- nothing has changed. Stanford, like all these other big-time schools, feels the need to cater to that culture for the sake of alumni relations and future donations. It is sad that even as wealthy and powerful an institution as Stanford can't challenge that.


2 people like this
Posted by Michah
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2019 at 4:47 pm

To Anon. MSME 89
I stand by my comment.


2 people like this
Posted by Stanford Grad 1986
a resident of Los Altos
on Mar 9, 2019 at 6:20 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]


9 people like this
Posted by Michele Dauber
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 10, 2019 at 3:37 pm

In 2016, following the Brock Turner crimes, Stanford -- to great fanfare -- adopted a new alcohol policy that banned hard liquor at parties but allowed it in unlimited amounts (provided the containers were small) in dorm rooms. At the time, the university administration wrote to the students that "hard alcohol, is implicated in a variety of problems that continue to be present in the Stanford community" including "sexual assault and relationship violence." Web Link

Of course, alcohol doesn't cause sexual assault or intimate partner violence. Rapists and batterers cause those crimes.

But because many Stanford administrators have a faulty mental model of campus rape as a "miscommunication" during a drunken hookup, they felt they had to do something about drinking. This, not coincidentally was also Brock Turner's mental model of campus rape.

So, as a result Stanford adopted a misguided alcohol policy. Beginning in 2016, hard liquor was banned from parties but could be consumed in unlimited amounts privately, in dorm rooms, so long as it came in smaller bottles. This obviously had great potential for unintended consequences such as under 21 year olds drinking hard liquor behind closed doors with upper classmen, where there would be greater opportunity for sexual assault and also greater chances of harmful fast consumption (pre-gaming). Many people, including me, said so at the time. Web Link

Those concerns fell on deaf ears. Now, it appears, the results are in: " the survey also found an alarming rise in what Stanford describes as "high-risk drinking behaviors" among freshmen, including pre-gaming and choosing a drink with more alcohol, both of which went up by more than 10 percent since 2011-12."

Sadly, just a few months after Stanford launched this policy, they announced it was a success. Obviously, that was untrue. And now here we are. By the way 9% of students sexually assaulted in a single year is a high rate. The climate survey to be conducted this spring will likely shed more light on the ways the hard alcohol ban also did not prevent rape in addition to not preventing drinking hard alcohol.


2 people like this
Posted by Bunyip
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 11, 2019 at 11:02 pm

Change the drinking age to 18 and allow the experimentation with alcohol to occur while kids are at home with there parents pre-college.

If you can go to war and kill a guy, you can drink a beer.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 11, 2019 at 11:53 pm

... not until you've finished basic training.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 12, 2019 at 7:41 am

Michelle Dauber's comment seems to say that the only ones who shouldn't be allowed to drink are rapists and similar and the rest are immune to violent behavior when drunk.

That sounds very much like the only people who should have guns are those who are responsible gun owners and the rest should be prevented.

The big problem is that anyone who is drunk can behave differently from when they are sober. And anyone who has a gun can at times be irresponsible enough to allow that gun to be used to kill someone.

Drinking alcohol should be taught by parents rather than making it the norm that a person takes their first alcohol intake in the culture of binge drinking and peer pressure.


2 people like this
Posted by History Repeats Itself Again
a resident of Stanford
on Mar 12, 2019 at 8:40 am

>> Drinking alcohol should be taught by parents rather than making it the norm that a person takes their first alcohol intake in the culture of binge drinking and peer pressure.

As another poster mentioned, Italy & France doesn't seem to have this problem.

Is it because drinking as a culture pre-empts the issues we are perpetually dealing with in America on a massive scale (i.e. drunk driving, sexual assaults, domestic violence, drunk in public etc.)?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

 

PRICE INCREASES MONDAY

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Register now