College parties: Breeding ground for trouble
It is no secret that college students love parties. For most, there is nothing better than ending a difficult week of classes with a trip to the local bar, fraternity or sorority house or simply having a few drinks with friends at home.
Be it the freedom one earns by living away from their parents or the belief that the college experience isn’t complete without a party, parties are an important aspect of a young student’s life. It is important to take precautions when out late at night, because there is always a chance of something going wrong.
College parties have the potential to end in disasters. The reckless nature of the students at these parties, combined with the alcohol they are drinking, results in impaired judgment and the inability to make proper choices. Students often participate more willingly in radical activities when under the influence. But that could be the worst decision they ever make.
“The best thing to do is utilize the buddy system. I know that we think as college students we’re independent, but part of that means being responsible,” said creative writing senior Alexandra Zubrick.
“Walk with someone everywhere, especially at night on a big campus. Tell people where you’re going and when you plan on getting there.”
“Something going wrong” is exactly what happened to 18-year-old University of Virginia student, Hannah Graham. According to CNN, Graham was first reported missing in the early morning on Sept. 13 after a night out. The report stated that Graham was seen at a party, noticed outside a pub and spotted having drinks with a man in a bar.
The man in question, Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr, was arrested on Sept. 24 in a small community know as Gilchrist, according to the Houston Chronicle. Authorities were led to Matthew, a person of interest in the case, by an anonymous tipper. According to the Chronicle, Matthew is going to be extradited to Virginia after being processed in the Galveston County jail.
The Huffington Post reported that authorities believe they have significant forensic evidence to link Matthew to a similar case which occurred in 2009 when Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington went missing on Oct. 17, 2009 after attending a Metallica concert. Her remains were found three months later.
“Certainly the question has arisen,” said Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo to CNN reporters.
Despite the recent arrest of Matthew and the forensic evidence that has come into consideration, there still is no sign of Graham since her disappearance.
According to The Daily Mail, Harrington’s parents are appealing to Matthew’s humane side and asking that he tell Graham’s parents where their daughter is.
“I want Matthew to confess, to plead guilty, to tell the families who are missing their girls, where they are,” Mrs. Harrington said. “Does he still have a spark of humanity?”
According to NBC News, Graham’s parents are speaking out about their daughter’s abduction.
“This is every parent’s worst nightmare,” Mr. Graham said. “I’m certain that everybody in this room, and those watching, knows that what happened to Hannah could happen to their child.”
But students can take active measures to ensure their safety and prevent instances such as in the case of Graham and Harrington from happening to them. There is no reason to stop having fun or going to parties — whether they are on campus or off campus; however, it is important to take precautionary measures whenever one chooses to partake in these activities.
“It’s important to text someone where you leave and also when you arrive back at your home, dorm or apartment,” said chemical engineering junior Lizzeth Jones.
Being aware and smart is the best advice to heed. Parties during the college years may be one of the most unsafe events a college student will attend.
There is no need to stop attending them, nor is there any need to avoid them in fear. Health junior Shannon Varghese said it is of upmost importance that each student takes their safety into their own hands.
“Stay as focused as possible to not get into any trouble because you’re responsible for yourself,” Varghese said. “You always have to be in the moment and conscious of what’s going on, especially when you’re going to parties. Do everything in your nature to stay out of harms way. Be aware and be smart.”
Opinion columnist Trishna Buch is a print journalism senior and may be reached at [email protected].