REVIEW of REVIEWS

Are Non-Boozers Glooms?

U. S. Investigator Finds Drinking is Not Frowned Upon by College Undergraduate Sentiment as Formerly

ERNEST W. MANDEVILLE August 15 1925
REVIEW of REVIEWS

Are Non-Boozers Glooms?

U. S. Investigator Finds Drinking is Not Frowned Upon by College Undergraduate Sentiment as Formerly

ERNEST W. MANDEVILLE August 15 1925

Are Non-Boozers Glooms?

U. S. Investigator Finds Drinking is Not Frowned Upon by College Undergraduate Sentiment as Formerly

ERNEST W. MANDEVILLE

TEN years ago quite a large percentage of the college boys had an acquaintance with liquor. There were many who drank very little, if at all, but there were an equal number who would get ‘tight’ once or twice each semester and who would spend an evening or two each week around a downtown table where the wine was red and the beer considerably more than one-half of one per cent. alcohol. In those days the drinking was done throughout the week, but the main carousals centred about certain festive athletic occasions, victories, hilarious reunions, or week-end trips. ... Now circumstances are quite different. I doubt very much if there is as much student attention paid to liquor during the week. But at week-ends and at the dances the tables have been turned. Where the boozer used to be frowned upon and his conduct thought unbecoming to a fraternity of gentlemen, now the reverse is almost true. The brother who does not drink himself into a jovial, care-free state is likely to be considered the gloom of the party. Upper class men no longer frown on the tipsy ‘stude.’ They may join him in drinking the contents of his hip flask.”

The above are some of the startling assertions made regarding drinking in certain American colleges, by Ernest W. Mandeville in The Outlook. Mr. Mandeville does not mention the names of the colleges to which he refers, but The Outlook prints a note above his article which says: “From independent sources we have obtained striking corroboration of the statements in this article.”

But the boys are not alone in their thirsty adventures, for Mr. Mandeville relates with all the apparent glee of a professional tale-bearer: “And the girls —are they still considered not ‘nice’ if they take a drink? Hardly! It adds to their popularity and the most house party bids go to the young lady who is looked upon as a ‘good sport’—that is, one who will take her turn with the flask and who will join in with the spirit of deviltry that accompanies the successful party. . , . Many of the girls both drink and smoke.” Worse still, Mr. Mandeville declaras that naughty stories are reveled in by both sexes, “and the whole show can only be described by the word ‘rotten’.”

Mr. Mandeville, who appears to have been around long enough when all these things were going on to have absorbed a fund of description which will probably bring heartaches and doubts to the minds of many parents, continues in part:

Things go on at college dances which never would have been tolerated by any fraternity ten years ago. If you happen in at one of these rowdy “house dances” and wander upstairs after the evening is well begun, you’ll find boys and girls in the rooms together—lounging, petting, drinking. You won’t see much, because the lights are down and the smoke is too thick, but you’ll go out thinking to yourself, “What have things come to?”

The college authorities are aware, of course, that there is some drinking going on at the parties, but they hardly know how to stop it. The boys are too smart to allow them to glimpse any of it personally. They have to let most of it go with the thought, “Boys will be boys.” Some frankly state their opposition to student drinking on the ground of the unpleasant publicity that might come out and the injured reputation of the college if things are carried too far. Their attitude seems to be “Can’t stop the boys from drinking, but it won’t do to have them do it publicly.” Motto: Getting found out is the sin.

At some of the large dances private detectives have been hired to put a stop to the drinking. I know of some of these occasions where the detectives, finding they could not cope with the situation, joined in and got drunk themselves. But for the most part the worst of the open drinking at the larger affairs has been checked. It is now at the smaller “house dances” where things are still wide open.

Now that the larger affairs have been more or less cleaned up, it is only fair to add that the smaller dances will perhaps come in for reform before long. There are indications which point to improving conditions.

The boys’ liquor supply comes largely from the local saloons or bootleggers. I know of one traveling wine salesman who deals exclusively with university trade. When I saw him, he had just come from an up-state college, where he had sold forty cases.

Gin, usually of a poor quality, is the favorite college drink. There is a drug store located near a large New York university. The proprietors of this store bought it to run as a booze supply station for the students. The drug store fixtures and trade is only a side-line to their main business—booze for boys.

Some students get together, buy alcohol and essence of gin, and make their own. They sell it among their fellows at a splendid profit. 1 know of one boy who made $800 from bootlegging during his first year at a midwestern university, and now, at the end of his second year, has $4,000 in bank from continuing the same trade. He boasts the fact that he is the “official class bootlegger.” The beer drinking of the old days among the college “sports” has gone. Something stronger is required. There is no question in my mind but that more college boys and girls have been drinking to excess since prohibition than at any time in the last fifteen years.

One of the most serious questions in the problem of college drinking is the carousing of the alumni at commencement reunions and like occasions.

Thoughtless graduates who think only of having a “good time” during these few days that they have broken away from business and renewed old friendships set an example to their younger brothers that makes it practically impossible to discipline them at these times or throughout the year.