Drinking at Colby: Facts and Myths


So you got the low-down on drinking at Colby from the dude down the hall and your older sister's best friend's cousin who graduated in '08 but some of what you heard seems a little farfetched and now you have more questions than you did before. No worries! We've assembled a list detailing some of the facts and myths about alcohol and drinking at Colby. We hope this will help quench your thirst for clarity and help direct you down the path to an enjoyable and trouble-free social life on Mayflower Hill.

Fact: The drinking age in the state of Maine (as in the other 49 states) is 21.

It's true. You have to be 21 to drink alcohol legally in Maine.  And since Colby is in Maine, you have to be 21 to drink alcohol legally at Colby. Detailed information about Maine law regarding alcohol can be found at:  http://statutes.laws.com/maine/title28a/title28-Ach81sec0/title28-Asec2051

Myth: It's okay to drink alcohol on campus if you're under 21.

Yeah, not so much (see above). Of course, that doesn't mean that nobody under 21 drinks alcohol on campus. It just means that those who do are breaking the law (and Colby policy). That's a choice you get to make. Let's face it, people choose to break laws all the time. Lots of people drive over the speed limit. And if they get caught, they get a ticket and pay a fine. So if you're under 21 and you choose to drink alcohol and you get caught, then own up and accept the consequences.

Fact: Colby policy prohibits the private possession and consumption of hard alcohol on campus.

Yup. It doesn't matter if you are 19 or 21 or 48. The hard alcohol policy went into effect in 2010 on the recommendation of the Campus Culture Working Group (CCWG – a committee made up of students, faculty, administrators, trustees, and parent representatives) as part of a comprehensive approach to combatting high-risk, dangerous drinking. Since the policy went into effect both ER visits and blood alcohol levels have dropped notably. The purpose of the policy is to eliminate high alcohol content punches and so-called pre-gaming that involves students doing multiple shots of hard alcohol in a short period of time prior to attending other events.

Myth: The administration forced through the hard alcohol policy with no input from, and over the objections of, the student body.

Nope. The hard alcohol policy was one of more than a dozen recommendations made by the CCWG to reduce dangerous drinking. The policy itself was written by a student-led subcommittee of the College Affairs Committee (CAC) and was ultimately passed by both the CAC and the Student Government Association (SGA) before going into effect. To be sure, some students object to the policy. But students were centrally involved in every aspect of its development and implementation. And, it is making a positive difference.

Fact: No Colby student has ever been subject to disciplinary action for seeking help for a friend who is drunk.

Not one. Not ever. Which should of course be obvious since getting help for someone in distress isn't against any rules. Still, rumors persist that you can get in trouble for getting help for a friend. It's not true. So you should never think twice about getting help for a friend who is drunk.

Myth: Campus Security actively seeks out violations of policy. The administration is cracking down on all student drinking.

Wrong. Campus Security officers do not go out looking to bust Colby students. As noted above, the College is working hard to reduce dangerous drinking – which is to say the kind of drinking that causes the most critical and fraught situations (e.g. doing shots, binge drinking, etc.). As such, Campus Security responds to situations where behaviors are drawing adverse attention – noise complaints, damage or vandalism, intoxicated students requiring medical attention. They do not insert themselves into situations that are under control, respectful, and safe.

Fact: Registered parties result in fewer problems for hosts, guests, and neighbors.

Colby wants social life on campus to be rich, diverse, and student-driven. Student-hosted parties are an important option that adds to the breadth of social alternatives. Students can register parties with the Office of Campus Life http://www.colby.edu/administration_cs/campuslife/ up to one week ahead of time. Party registration is easy and provides party hosts with assistance and support in a variety of ways. Statistically, registered parties go smoother and result in fewer problems for everyone involved.

Myth: The administration is planning to make Colby a "dry" campus (i.e. prohibit all alcohol on campus).

Nonsense! As previously noted, the focus of the College's alcohol policies is to permit safe, legal, and responsible drinking and to eliminate high-risk, dangerous drinking. Let's see if we can't finally put this tired old rumor to rest.

This is not an exhaustive list of myths and facts about drinking at Colby. So, if you hear things around campus that raise questions or concerns for you please contact me or one of the other deans for clarification. As I noted in the previous Living Colby installment about drinking, this is a complicated issue and our collective conversations about it are and should be ongoing and evolving.

Back to the Living Colby home page.