The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Beer Bong Mom

What was she thinking? Or was she thinking at all? Maybe that’s part of her problem, now shared and recorded for a host of others to consider. Certainly nothing resembling critical judgment crossed her “maternal” synapses Saturday afternoon.

Family Weekend festivities on the Boulevard tilted toward full-out weekend before last, not only at the fraternity tents but all across the northern reaches of Boulevard, Plaza and Quadrangle. Though her obvious middle age is no excuse, perhaps subconsciously her elder status contributed to forgetting where she was and with whom. After all, judgment is the first victim of the consumption of too much alcohol.

Or was her lapse simply a momentary slip into an alcohol and party-laced past, a sort of late-life jonesing? Alternatively, could her public display represent a more sinister and troubling regression to a period of her own adolescent excess, a sign of middle-age-manifested developmental arrest? Was it simply the sun or was it the beer? Or both? Or was it just an innocent nostalgic joy at being back on campus for another party?

However one assesses the maturity level of this “grown” woman, possibly the mother of one of our students, on the Boulevard before the UTEP-SMU football game, her behavior clearly was out of line and reflective of seriously deficient judgment. Quaffing alcohol with the aid of a “beer bong” surrounded by underage teens on a public avenue in the middle of our campus simply won’t pass as “adult” behavior. At a bare minimum, behavior of this sort signifies gross insensitivity. When exhibited at a moment in our community’s life where nearly any untoward activity related to alcohol will be painstakingly scrutinized against the backdrop of recent lethal student excesses with related substances, it transcends embarrassment and constitutes serious insult. She obliterated the boundaries of parental decorum, not to mention generally responsible adult behavior.

When confronted by other adults on the scene, she laughed off her actions apparently as a joke and then moved into the anonymous herd.

Let’s be clear: Our community has most recently experienced the lethal and near lethal consequences of chemical and alcohol abuse by our student members. We have defined this misuse as a significant social problem, noting more than a dozen hospital transports for alcohol poisoning already this semester. Watching this matron bong beer on the Boulevard may open a portal to understanding the broader and more profound depth of the problems we and other institutions confront. If a parent behaves like this, what should we be prepared to expect of the kids?

After an initial flash of indignation at this woman’s unfortunate acting out, perhaps we can muster a modicum of compassion. She may well be oblivious to the implications of her actions and the consequences of her cavalier attitude; truly sad, but sadly true.

As President Turner’s Task Force on Abuse and Prevention moves forward, it might be helpful to examine how the resources of the SMU Mothers’ Club, the Dads’ Club, and the Parents’ Council could be engaged in conversations about issues that have every possibility of sidetracking their sons’ and daughters’ educational aspirations. It’s now time to bring this conversation into the open.

About the writer:

William M. Finnin, Jr., Th. D. is the chaplain and minister to the university.

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