It will be interesting to see the effects of the proposed Lexington city ordinance—that would fine landlords renting to consistently rowdy party houses—has on University of Kentucky student’s nightlife and game day festivities.
While the new ordinance certainly seems like a strict enough deterrent, college students are notoriously adaptable when it comes to their desire to burn a bright flame.
The proposed fines are just the most recent step taken in attempt to remove any chance of a UK student achieving a fulfilling social life. We have lost the bowl, we have lost the cliff, and we might lose the off-campus housing. The situation is dire. Now there aren’t many respectable reasons to argue against underage drinking laws and policy but UK needs to change their approach.
The ordinance, which is backed by the university, is a response to the years of consistent partying that goes down in the areas around State and Elizabeth Streets by generations of the Wildcat faithful. Riots and excessive celebrations have cast an infamous shadow over the collegiate community. While in all actuality, the biggest disturbances most nights come from the ambulance sirens and helicopters heading toward the hospitals.
The University of Kentucky is a dry campus and is able to tell the taxpayers of the conservative commonwealth that their dollars are not going into the reckless college scene. But believing that there can be a stop to underage drinking on campus is naïve. Currently Kentucky is applying an abstinence only policy to their students.
There are simple steps that the University could take to make the lives of their students safer that don’t require more litigation and fines. Any student who has partaken in off-campus extracurriculars is familiar with the unholy house party scene. Garbage bags are taped over windows, an unknown combination of liquids accumulates on the floor, and people are packed so close moving is nothing but constant apologies. There are reasons people take their pictures at the pre-games.
Many colleges allow fraternities to host their large parties in their chapter houses and other university owned properties. If the University of Kentucky implements a change this easily could take students out of dark, unfamiliar and cramped basements and into big adequate houses that are in the middle of our safe and secure campus. The premises could be roped or blocked off and contained, sign-in lists could be used, and chapters could use their budgets to hire professional security.
Now some may ask “Why should we allow students to have massive parties?” and it’s hard to answer that question. As I sit down to write this column, my roommates worked on an assignment that them to come up with a tradition that goes along with UK sports. Now they aren’t the smartest bunch but they weren’t able to come up with any. In fact, the closest they got were memories of State Street riots and tailgates.
Maybe the life of crazy ragers and riots are over. Maybe students are losing their desire for the reckless. But next time there is a national championship in Lexington, I hope the Herald-Leader heads to the dorms or apartments and shows students celebrating by themselves.