Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Students are not reliable partners

Middlebury College’s plan to reopen in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic this fall depends on sensible, responsible behavior on the part of two thousand students, many of them still teenagers. I was a teenager at Middlebury College many years ago, and I am less than confident that the college can depend on the students avoiding risky behavior.
I remember a fair amount of heavy drinking by students, and not just at the frats. That drinking reduced inhibitions and judgment, leading to drunken driving, unprotected sex and property damage. I imagine some of Middlebury College’s current students also drink alcohol, with similar consequences.
Students in the 1970s took a wide range of illegal drugs, including psychedelics, often followed by lowered inhibitions and impaired judgment. I bet more than a few students are still experimenting with drugs, despite the legal and health risks.
Even without the influence of drugs or alcohol, we sometimes drove too fast on icy roads, dived off cliffs into uncertain water, climbed mountains at night, or drove 12-15 hours through blinding blizzards to get home for winter breaks.
All of these actions risked our lives, and some of them risked the lives of others.
Would you be confident that young men who did those things would always wear masks and keep appropriate social distance, while scrupulously keeping their hands clean?
I think the college is making a mistake to bring students back to campus before the virus is controlled or a vaccine is approved and made available.
Ross Eisenbrey
Middlebury College
Class of 1974
Ripton

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