Luther should legalize outdoor drinking on campus

For the last two weeks of the semester and post-graduation, Luther should allow students to drink outdoors on campus. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking. But this isn’t a joke: I’m deadly serious. Luther should allow students to drink outdoors on campus. 

The main factor in this decision is COVID-19. Pandemic fatigue has officially set in. In recent months, students have begun to completely disregard Luther’s guidelines. The biggest danger that comes with disregarding those guidelines is, obviously, catching COVID-19 and spreading it around campus. Many of the areas where students are disregarding guidelines are indoor parties on campus and bars around town. Coincidentally, cramped indoor spacing with little to no ventilation, like bars, dorm rooms, and clusters, are areas where it is easiest for COVID-19 to spread. The CDC labels these situations high-risk and recommends that even fully vaccinated people avoid them, because fully vaccinated people can still spread the virus. So, what does this mean? It means the way that students are violating these guidelines is inherently dangerous.  

Now, Luther can do a lot of things. It can attempt to crack down on on-campus gatherings, but it can’t catch all of them, and it can’t stop students from going to bars. As much as we hate to admit it, SPO cops can’t be everywhere. So instead of pursuing enforcement mechanisms that haven’t worked and will continue not to work, Luther should provide an avenue through which students can see their friends in a safe manner. There’s only one way to do this: outdoors. While spring flourishes, encouraging students to see their friends outdoors will significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. And there’s no better way to do this than allowing students to drink outdoors. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking again. “Kyle, that’s against the law! There’s no way Luther would encourage students to violate the law.” And in normal circumstances, I would agree with you. But we don’t live in normal circumstances; we haven’t for over a year now. Besides, based on my experiences talking to police officers, it’s an unwritten rule that they don’t enforce drinking laws on campus. Think about it. Cops never show up to people’s dorm rooms to check if they’re underage drinking; they are simply not concerned with it. If Luther were to change this policy and allow outdoor drinking in on-campus spaces, the law would be violated, but underage drinking is already illegal and we don’t ever call the cops for on-campus drinking violations. So, in my opinion, that would not be a problem. 

Outdoor drinking is a fun, light way to encourage students to see their friends and socialize in a way that is consistent with CDC COVID-19 guidelines. With the weather warming up, this is the perfect opportunity for the Luther administration to announce an innovative policy that would accomplish their goals, reduce the possibility of high transmission, and generate goodwill among the student body. Besides, and perhaps most importantly of all, it would be fun! And after this pandemic and all the other things Luther students have had to endure over the past year, we deserve a little fun.