Drinking, Kids, Parties

NYU Law School Administrators Impair the Student Body’s Professional Development

New York University Law School NYU Law School Above the Law.JPGUp in Cambridge, the students of Harvard Law School are trying to get those pesky undergraduates out of Hemenway gym.
But in New York’s Greenwich Village, the students of NYU Law School have a much more welcoming attitude towards college-age youngsters. In fact, that attitude may be TOO welcoming.
Yesterday a memo went out to all NYU law students from Yvette Bravo-Weber, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. It concerned the upcoming “Spring Fling” party, scheduled for March 8, and various changes being instituted this year — due to some, er, misbehavior from last year.
The memo is mildly amusing, due to the dry, clinical manner in which it discusses what we imagine was a bunch of drunken law students — and their underage guests — puking their guts out. You can check out the full NYU memo — with commentary from us, questioning the wisdom of these “reforms” — after the jump.

Here’s the NYU memo that went around yesterday. It’s not hilarious, but it’s certainly worth a chuckle or two.

To: All Law Students
From: Yvette Bravo-Weber
Re: Spring Fling, March 8, 2007 – A Message of Concern
Date: February 27, 2007

The annual Spring Fling will take place in the Vanderbilt Hall on Thursday, March 8th between 8 PM and 12AM. Invitations will be placed in student mailboxes later this week. We wanted to let you know about some changes we have instituted at this year’s Spring Fling as a result of incidents that occurred at the 2006 Spring Fling and 2006 Fall Ball.

We found that the level of intoxication among some students at these events was quite high. As a result:
a) Several students become ill in Vanderbilt Hall and in the Residence Halls
b) Two students had to be hospitalized
c) One wait-staff was assaulted by an intoxicated student
d) There was extensive property damage to Greenberg Lounge

Now, much of this is no laughing matter. But we must admit enjoying the memo’s university-administrator-speak (which has to be the only language more odious than legalese).
E.g., a “level of toxication” that was “quite high” (read: “students drunk off their asses”). And “extensive property damage to Greenberg Lounge” (read: “the place was f***ing trashed”).

In addition, although we have always encouraged students to bring their spouse or domestic partner to these events, we found that many students were bringing other guests and that some of these guests were under 21. We had no mechanism for identifying these underage guests.

Hey — how do you know that these under-21 guests weren’t “spouse[s] or domestic partner[s]”? If various parental consent and special judicial approval requirements are satisified, you can get married as young as age 14 in New York State. (And if both applicants are 18, marriage does not require any parental consent or special judicial approval.)

We are sure you will agree that these issues are troubling and need to be addressed. Therefore, at this year’s Spring Fling law students must show their law school ID and a second form of ID showing their age. Any spouse or domestic partner who accompanies a law student must also have a picture ID that shows their age. Anyone without these IDs will not be admitted.

“We are sure you will agree”: Oh really?

All attendees 21 years of age and over will be given a wristband with 2 drink tickets attached. Attendees under 21 will receive a wristband with no drink tickets. In addition, we will have sandwiches and other foods available in addition to the usual snacks, beer, wine, and soft drinks. As in previous years, we will stop serving alcoholic beverages one hour before the end of the event.

We hope that these measures will help to address some of the problems associated with this event. However, it is up to all attendees to make the Spring Fling the community building and celebratory event that it is intended to be. Please look out for your fellow students and help us to make the event safe and enjoyable for everyone. Enjoy the Fling!

Now we can see where the NYU Law School administration is trying to go with this. We understand what they’re trying to accomplish. But we think it’s actually a bad idea.
We think it’s far better to give law students, especially 1Ls, completely unencumbered access to limitless quantities of alcohol. This will allow them to learn — the hard way, which is the only way they’ll ever REALLY learn — the limitations of their alcohol tolerance.
And isn’t it far better for their professional development for law students to learn how to drink responsibly in the relative safety of an academic setting, before their careers as lawyers are truly launched? Isn’t it far better to puke all over an assistant dean — e.g., Yvette Bravo-Weber — than a Biglaw hiring partner?
If you place these additional restrictions on the revelry at Spring Fling, won’t you prevent NYU law students from making drunken fools of themselves AT SCHOOL — a relatively safe, non-judgmental environment? Won’t this prevent these students from learning, at an early stage in their law school careers, how to drink responsibly? Might this therefore increase the chances of them drinking irresponsibly at a later stage in their legal careers — e.g., during their time as summer associates?
In short: Aren’t you turning your students into the Aquagirls of the future?

(hidden for your protection)

comments sponsored by

Show all comments