« Obama’s use of teleprompter | Main | »

March 15, 2009

Underage drinking

What a tragedy the death of University of Kansas student Jason Wren is, and how insulting are the responses from the various “responsible” parties (3/11, Local, “Dad of dead student makes somber plea; Suspected binge-drinking death prompts father to call for alcohol ban”).
KU says that because the house is off-campus, it is not subject to university regulations. “There won’t be any sanctions imposed in this case,” says KU Interfraternity Council president Graham Stark, because it didn’t follow an official function. Yet Wren is officially deceased, his parents are officially grief-stricken, and those who should be shouldering responsibility for this needless death are busy trying to officially absolve themselves of any blame.
If Kansas lawmakers have their way in making parents more accountable to underage drinking, they need to add provisions to include as responsible parties fraternity and sorority officeholders, advisers and alumni governing boards. Fraternities and sororities today are no more than legal drinking clubs and should be legislated as such.
My heart just absolutely bleeds for the Wren family, and this needless, senseless, death. My head is absolutely ashamed at KU’s response.
William J. Olson

The Johnson County Stop Underage Drinking Project, a judge, the Johnson County district attorney’s office and officers who deal with kids arrested for drug and drinking offenses attended our recent Shawnee Mission East PTA meeting. Those of us present agreed that serving alcohol to underage drinkers is illegal and dangerous.
We know that those of you (by name and reputation) who do it or ignore it when you know it is occurring were absent. You are the parents responsible for encouraging lifelong drinking problems and accidental deaths. You promote the mistaken belief in this community that “everyone does it, so we’re just making sure we have some control over it.” You are advocating something over which you have no control.
Stop the parties in your homes. You are promoting damaged minds and deadly habits. You can expect your neighbors to call the police on you next time, even though you tell kids not to bring cars and plan to spend the night, so as not to attract at attention to your crime.
Cool parents don’t pass on drinking problems to the next generation.
Ellen Murphy
Mission Hills




Stifled Freedom

Mr Olson is so unfortunately American. He is always looking to blame someone else for a tragedy. And a way to get the legislature into hysterics to enact more laws we dont need.

It is already illegal for a 20 year old to drink....and it did not stip this death.

The guy drank himself to death. That is no ones fault but his. It is tragic. Leave it at that.


It sounds like the youg man might have already had a drinking problem since that is what got him kicked out of the dormitory. I wonder if anyone tried to keep him out of the fraternity since drinking is so profound there.


I am with Tom, I think that 20 year old who has just spent 12 months humping 40 lbs of body armor in 140 degree heat to defend his country ought to be able to buy himself a beer, anywhere, any time.


"...they need to add provisions to include as responsible parties fraternity and sorority officeholders, advisers and alumni governing boards."

It ALREADY illegal for adults to buy alcohol for minors. The death occurred OFF campus and OUTSIDE of any university sanctioned event. What does the letter writer expect KU to do, become the enforcer of laws in Lawrence no matter whether the university was involved or not?

Go after the adults who provided alcohol to the 19 year old kid (through the laws already in place).

Tom K

If you want to exempt 18 to 21 year old people from using alcohol, please be so kind as to also exempt them from military service.

About KansasCity.com | About the Real Cities Network | Terms of Use & Privacy Statement | About Knight Ridder | Copyright