Editorial: Uneventful Halloween Shows Promise for Responsible Decision Making

Halloween, traditionally an unpredictable holiday where people delight in abnormal behavior, turned out to be a welcome period of safe celebration for the University of Tampa.

Unexpectedly and fortunately, UT saw a relatively uneventful Guavaween with no major disturbances, according to the Office of Student Conduct. Plastic utensils and paper cups were taken out in university dining facilities in anticipation of intoxicated students, yet it appears as though students largely celebrated in a safe and responsible manner.

This is also reflected in the relative drop, reported in last week’s statistics in The Minaret, of alcohol related policy violations, a drop that has continued over the Guavaween weekend, according to the Office of Student Conduct.

Though The Minaret has been criticized in our online forums and elsewhere for concentrating too heavily on “negative news,” we are glad to see that no new major negative incidents have taken place this past week.

Furthermore, organizations and individuals that have seen unfavorable publicity have utilized the past week to come forward, openly and straightforwardly, as models in learning from mistakes and speaking to others.

Bradley Whittier, after making news in The Minaret last week, can be found in this week’s Minaret reflecting on his ordeal and drawing lessons of value for himself and others.

Delta Zeta, after admitting responsibility for an off-campus alcohol violation, agreed to host a series of alcohol education events to inform students about alcohol, most notably last week’s OctSOBERfest.

Even previously, Pi Kappa Phi responded to a couple of drug-related incidents with an impressive transparency. They made it clear that the actions of a few isolated individuals are not representative of the fraternity, and volunteered a full-scale investigation to help determine how the chapter could move forward.

The statistics from the Office of Student Conduct, the lack of a reported serious incident last weekend, and the public actions of figures like Whittier and Marie Burns of Delta Zeta all indicate that students are making the shift to responsible and safe drinking, decisions which the university has repeatedly said it encourages.

It is obviously unclear to what extent this is true, but there is reason for optimism.

We can be even more optimistic if other student leaders follow the lead of Bradley Whittier, Delta Zeta and others who were not afraid to spread lessons they learned from mistakes, as well as Team CHAOS and other student leaders who have not been in alcohol trouble yet continue to educate students on campus.

Though details are still unclear regarding the incident concerning the Oct. 21 alcohol poisoning of the Kappa Sigma pledge, several sources have indicated that the incident was an extremely serious one, possibly even a life and death one.

Whatever happened, the reported seriousness of the incident may have served as an ominous warning sign for all to heed the week before Guavaween.

The stakes are simply too high when it comes to irresponsible drinking. We are glad to see that many students seem to have, at least for the time being, taken that lesson to heart, and we can only hope that more will follow suit as upcoming celebrations down the road pose an increasing danger to responsible decision making.

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