University time is one which every person who has benefitted from a college education ought to cherish. It generally is accepted as a very serious period for young people — one which can set their agenda for the future, but which at the same time allows enough room for leisure to ensure that well rounded personalities are developed.
In fact, in most countries it is accepted that, within certain boundaries of course, college life is designed to allow students to push the envelope on campus in ways that would not be tolerated off campus.
That’s college life.
However, none of this should be construed as a time for reckless abandon, and certainly not as a time for more mature members of the community to turn a blind eye to any practice that might not be in the best interest of individual students, the student body, or the reputation of the institution itself.
Last week student leaders at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies had a series of activities under the banner of their annual carnival. We have absolutely no objection to the campus carnival and see it as a perfect opportunity for students to unwind and relax.
And just as occurs with other “carnival-type” celebrations that take place all over this country each year, there are individuals who spoil a good thing by going overboard. It would certainly be unfair to blame organisers for such actions — unless the event was designed and intended to provoke the vilest of conduct.
When, however, the event is one that by its very nature is likely to produce only negative outcomes, we believe we have a duty to offer a note of caution. During last week’s celebrations at Cave Hill, one of the events that apparently attracted much attention and participation was titled “Novelty Sports”.
As it turned out though, these novelty sports were not much more than competitive consumption of alcohol — to the cheers of spectators. We do not believe it is the kind of event that the young fertile minds of Cave Hill’s student leaders should be cultivating. They have to be able to come up with more wholesome ways of having fun.
We issue the warning because it is a practice, by another name of course, that has caused tremendous heartache on college campuses across the United States and has destroyed many a young, promising life.
There is nothing novel about lining up cold beers on a table for teenagers to see who can consume the most in the shortest possible time. It is un-Barbadian, un-West Indian, and unhealthy. But when it is followed by cups of the stronger stuff consumed relay-style, the danger is multiplied.
We know that we will win few friends in some circles for this stance, but we will have our say and let the chips fall. We are not prudes, but we do recall the statement that too often “youth is lost on young people”.
We wish only the best for this region’s future leaders and will therefore not censor ourselves when we believe it is our duty to send a warning.