Solace in the bottom of a bottle is no longer an option at the University of Idaho.
University of Idaho freshmen will face immediate expulsion if their grade-point average is below 1.0 at the end of fall semester -- and whether or not alcohol is to blame, it's part of an effort to curb underage drinking.
Whether the bottle is the cause, or symptom of some other malady, remains for further research.
“While they were physically here on campus, they were not engaging in the academic process, and conversely, they were often involved with conduct issues,” often stemming from alcohol and substance abuse, [dean of students Bruce] Pitman said. “So we connected the dots with our other concerns about campus safety and thought that we ought to try to have a different strategy related to our academic regulations.”

In the past three or four years, the university has seen “a rising tide of issues and incidents,” including hospitalizations, traffic accidents and a few students falling from roofs. In that time, about 115 students have fallen into the 0.0-1.0 GPA range each year.

“Given the corollary connection between academic performance and high-risk drinking behaviors,” [Bently assistant director for wellness Jessica] Greher-Traue said, “one might hypothesize that asking students who are struggling academically to take time off may also eliminate some of the highest-risk drinkers within a given population.”
It might be wise to encourage students who are struggling academically to take some time off, or to consider a different career, even in those circumstances where something else -- the Therapeutic Industry's Canon of Excuses -- might be the primary cause of the student's disengagement.  Raising the stakes for weak students is a desirable outcome, particularly when beer-'n-circus becomes hazardous to your health.  The Chicago Tribune's editorial board reminds the party animals that there are legal consequences.
Let a fellow student or friend go without medical treatment after he or she reaches what the Bogenberger lawsuit calls "insensate intoxication" and you may be accused of failing to intervene when you could have. The fact that you didn't plan the evening, buy the liquor or give the orders may not save you: Much as criminal law treats the getaway driver as harshly as it treats the robbers who were inside the bank, joint actions create joint liabilities that can play out harshly for defendants in civil suits.

Those of us who have college students or other young people in our lives cannot urge them too often to make good choices — the hundreds, maybe thousands, of good choices that will allow them and their friends to survive into productive adulthoods.

Nor can we tell them too often that bad choices leave some people dead — and many others with lifelong consequences.
Some activities are subject to a steeper grading curve than anything in college. People do judge you by the company you keep.  There is a permanent record, and negative entries are harder to expunge.

Welcome back to college.

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