Rant: Students need alcohol, even in America
Not everyone, however, sees it this way. As plans to introduce 24 hour drinking across Britain gather pace, students in American universities are facing prohibition.
As if young people in America didn't already have it hard enough, the legal age for drinking being a lofty 21, universities across the states are drying out their campuses, banning alcohol from the debauched frat-houses and sororities.
One in three colleges now have bans in place, the latest being the University of Oklahoma, which is cracking down after a freshmen died last September following a fraternity pledge-night.
If banning alcohol could be proved to prevent such tragic occurrences, then it would be a hard policy to argue against. However, prohibition creates many problems of its own.
Put simply, students need to drink. If anyone can successfully make it to their mid-twenties without the soothing charm of alcohol then there is, quite frankly, something wrong with them. As George Bernard Shaw so eloquently put it, "Alcohol is the anaesthesia by which we endure the operation of life." University is a notoriously stressful place. This is especially true in America, where, I hear, they actually make you do some work.
It is impossible to tell how many students are saved from launching themselves from campus rooftops thanks to booze's calming influence, but we can safely assume it's more than are killed by misadventure in the name of frat-boy frivolities.
Furthermore, by banning alcohol on campus, you merely force the problem off-site. Pushing students on to the streets may increase the proliferation of always-entertaining stories of the presidential offspring's drunken antics, but it will also increase the number of inebriated undergraduates attempting to make their way back to their campuses, which will have a distinctly negative effect on the safety of the surrounding roads.
The top American universities have better teachers, astronomically better facilities and a vastly increased work ethic, yet still consistently fail to outperform the old British institutions of Oxford and Cambridge. This is, in part, due to us Brits being inherently more intelligent, but there is another major factor. Oxbridge colleges are built around their college bars: recognising the important role alcohol plays in the upper echelons of higher education, your typical student is only a matter of minutes away from the hallowed taps.
Despite typical arrogant claims to the contrary, America has a lot to learn from the ways of Blightly; letting their students get smashed on a regular basis is one of the most vital.