In a dramatic gesture, the Vice President for Campus Life’s Office released a proposal yesterday which outlined a plan to limit the rise in BAC inflation that has, in the eyes of some, gripped the university in recent years.

“15 years ago the average BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) level on a given weekend night was 0.08, whereas today’s undergraduates regularly reach levels of 0.15. BAC’s exceeding 0.20 are not uncommon,” the report begins. “To counter this alarming trend, Princeton has been working on curbing the consumption of alcoholic beverages, in a focused and public fashion, for more than six years. We have made some headway into making ourselves more aware, collectively and individually, of how our students socialize, and what events will make them more likely to down, sip, gulp, swig, knock back, and/or lap up alcohol. In addition, each eating club now receives an annual cumulative report showing its own cocktail/spirits data in the context of University-wide patterns. All of those gains notwithstanding, the historical patterns of increased alcoholic enthusiasm and subsequent sobrietal diminution continue. Despite our best efforts to the contrary, Blood Alcohol Levels have continued to go up since we began our work. On a typical Saturday night along Prospect Avenue (commonly referred to by undergraduate students as ‘The Street’), sixty-five percent of all undergraduates will have a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.13 or better, 30 percent will have averages between 0.09 and 0.13, and fewer than 5 percent will fall below 0.04. As we reported in February 2003, a student who on average possesses a BAC of 0.06 or less will have consumed a portion of spirits well below the midpoint of the ninth decile of his class, and a student who remains completely sober stands second to last among all matriculated students.”

In order to counter this tide of growing intoxication, the University has proposed a campus-wide policy that would cap at 35% the number of people on the street who could have BAC’s above 0.075 and limit to 0.09 the BAC’s of students drinking independently in their dorms. When asked about the disparity in figures, the University responded that the higher limit for independent imbibing reflects the intellectual maturity, focus, and expertise that many juniors and seniors bring to their independent consumption. Overall, according to the Office of Undergraduate Life, “this approach to curtailing the intake of liquor has two advantages: it is simpler to understand and implement than any other plan we considered; and it allows maximum flexibility for students to determine how to achieve their desired objective, with due regard for the taste, size, and complexity of their alcoholic offerings.”

Vocal student opposition greeted the plan almost immediately following its presentation to the public. As one junior male stated, “One of my greatest worries is that if this plan is enacted and BAC levels are dramatically lowered campus-wide, I won’t be able to get into the girl’s pants that I’ve been hoping to ever since I’ve been here at Princeton.”

“Yeah”, another student echoed, “I’m really frustrated now at this plan because I’ve spent two years working really hard to hook up with this really hot blonde, and now because of the forced BAC reductions, I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to have the edge that I need to be accepted into her bedroom.”

University officials have attempted to calm these worries by stressing that a sober Princeton man is just as highly regarded by females as a drunken Harvard man, and that Princetonians’ long-term relationships won’t be diminished by decreased BAC’s. Indeed, one sophomore girl optimistically wondered whether Princeton men would become even more desirable in comparison to their Ivy League counterparts, since they would seem even more rugged than those “Sally’s at Harvard and Yale who get rocked on apple martinis and Zimas.”

Furthermore, administrators have been quick to point out that romantic advancements made under the aegis of alcohol are not true determinants of a proper relationship. “Drinking done without careful calibration and discrimination is, if nothing else, boorish and therefore not amorous; at worst, it actively discourages students from rising to the challenge to do their best social work,” reads the report. “If all drunken behavior was followed by easily acquired ‘hook-ups,’ students wouldn’t have a true basis by which to judge their best efforts. There must be some correlation between performance and reward.”

In response to student criticism that the values of 0.075 and 0.09 seem arbitrarily chosen, administrators have also attempted to point out that those figures are “by no means outside the Princeton experience; they resemble very closely the drinking patterns at Princeton from 1987-1992, and it describes (or comes close to describing) current drinking patterns in some particular clubs.”

“Really we are not exceeding our bounds here,” one official stated, “in that we are not asking to students to do anything that earlier generations of Princetonians haven’t been able to do themselves when they were undergraduates.”

Alumni voiced mixed reactions to this point, but current undergraduates have been quick to indicate that there have been dramatic changes in the composition of the student body over the past fifteen years. As one freshman argued, students are now much more motivated and focused then they were in the 1980’s. “In high school I completely dedicated myself to perfecting my performance as a drinker, and I would never have gotten into Princeton without my AP Robo credit or my Beirut prep class. I think it’s a little presumptuous on the University’s part to presume that only 35% of its students can drink exceptionally well. And besides, if the University starts regulating behavior now, what’s next? Mandating that we attend at least 35% of lectures? Forcing 35% of preceptors to speak English?”