Dear Ms. Vagas:
I saw your Broadcast piece, "The Scott Kruger Story", on ABC that was shown in September 1997 and would like to respond because I think that two key aspects were not discussed: Scott's parents and Scott himself. In my opinion, they are the only people to be held responsible for his death. Although I agree that MIT turned a blind eye on the problems because they obviously knew they existed, especially in this fraternity; it was Scott's personal and free choice to live there, to start drinking, and to continue it in the form of binging until his blood alcohol level hit .41 (Kalb, p.69).
Teenage binge drinking is a serious problem and unfortunately widespread on US campuses. "The deaths are just pilling up here," says Hank Nuwer author of Wrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing and Binge Drinking ("Binge Drinking's Campus Toll", 2002). A Harvard study found that 70% of students at 119 colleges binge drink.
Among Greek students, the numbers are even higher: 86% of fraternity members and 80% of sorority members living in chapter houses are likely to engage in binging, which was defined as more than 5 drinks in a row for men and more than 4 drinks in a row for women (Kowalski, p. 6-7). As you can see events like the "Animal House night" are not just a problem for MIT or the Fiji House. "Alcohol is the No. 1 issue on every campus I've been on," says John Williamson, executive vice president of the Indianapolis-based North-American Interfraternity Conference, which represents 66 fraternities on 800 campuses in the USA ("Binge Drinking's Campus Toll", 2002).
The Harvard study also found that students drink to get drunk (47%), drink because of the status associated with drinking, drink because it is a tradition...