Upua assembly 14jan2009 :: 0:22:21 to 0:42:21
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0:18:59 to 0:25:49( Edit History Discussion )
Title: Ben Novak

Former Penn State trustee and student government president Ben Novak addressing UPUA on student drinking.

0:21:43 to 0:22:21( Edit History Discussion )

I'm saying all of this to get clear in your mind who I'm talking about, William Welch, the mayor of State College. So I went to lunch with Bill in order to talk to him about a new approach to student drinking. What I was going to talk to him about was Plato's argument that drinking parties were essential to higher education. Essential to the working of the University. That they were important, that they were to be cultivated, not abolished. I had my book of Plato with me (I meant to bring it tonight but forgot).

0:22:21 to 0:23:23( Edit History Discussion )

You would think that the last thing that he wanted to hear was a 2,500-year old argument from Plato about drinking parties being good things for college students. So what was his reaction? I had no sooner started to tell him about it and pull out the book that he said "don't bother Ben, I know that story, I know Plato's argument." He said that was the argument that fundamentally students followed until about 1970 at Penn State. That was back in the period when they started the Phi Psi 500, and a lot of other things, when the borough was all in-favor of those things. He said "yeah, student drinking then was great." There was always some incident, but those where looked at as expectations. Most of the time they were pretty much under control and students could drink like fish and everyone loved them.

0:23:23 to 0:24:15( Edit History Discussion )

But after 1970 everything changed. Nobody drank according to Plato's argument, they drank to get drunk and they did get drunk and it was out of control. He said, "if we could do it back the way they did in 1970 or before, we wouldn't have any problem with drinking in State College." Now I want you to understand that from the end of the prohibition in 1933 until 1950, anybody could drink in the bars of State College, even high school students. The law prohibited it, but there was a technicality in the law that required two witnesses and an affidavit to prove that you were not 21. They just couldn't get two witnesses and an affidavit for every kid who walked into a bar. They didn't try because it was too much paperwork.

0:24:15 to 0:25:26( Edit History Discussion )

So, people drank. I won't go further into that, but drinking was pretty much welcomed and not much of a problem. I don't think that there is a student in this room, expect maybe one or two who have heard me before, that knows or understands how it was that the worst enemy actually agrees with drinking parties by college students. I'm not going to go through Plato's argument here, we'll save that for another time, but I hope that I've gotten you interested in it. But I will say this: you could utterly reverse the brough's attitudes towards students and drinking parties if you were willing to start listening to a few old stories. You would find that people around you, if you put them in terms of those old stories, might think "boy, you're pretty smart" and probably support you in a lot more things that you want to do. You could get credit for solving the problem that Graham Spanier hasn't been able to solve at all.

0:25:26 to 0:25:49( Edit History Discussion )

And I don't mean by prohibiting drinking getting rid of it, I mean by learning how to have proper drinking parties that enhance the University and student life. In fact, if you were willing to take the time to hear and read for yourselves a few old stories, you would learn a lot of new things that you could do.

University Park Undergraduate Association Student Assembly 14-Jan-2009 Meeting



Adopted from: http://www.archive.org/details/upua_assembly_14jan2009

Academic and administrative discourse related to The Pennsylvania State University.

Student Assembly,
University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA),
The Pennsylvania State University

Meeting held 8:13pm on 14-Jan-2009
302 HUB, University Park, Pennsylvania
http://assembly.upua.org/record/

A listing of other University proceedings is available:
"Penn State University" AND "open meeting"

This is a private recording of an open-to-the-public event.
The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent
those of The Pennsylvania State University or other
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