Chanting "save our beer," dozens of students at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst protested last week against a proposal for a partial ban on drinking at the state's 29 public college and university campuses.
Paul Ferro, president of the Republican Club, said, "The university ... is just trying to do PR." He said students would widely ignore such a ban. The club was one of the sponsors of the protest, which attracted more than 200 participants.
The state Board of Higher Education recently asked each of the campuses to impose its own ban on alcohol. The board said, however, that campus trustees could designate certain events and places where drinking would be allowed.
The ban was prompted by recent alcohol-related deaths, including a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who collapsed after a fraternity party and another at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst who fell through a greenhouse roof.
"Banning alcohol isn't going to do anything," says Brian McManus, a student who helped organize the protest. He is concerned about a rise in drunk driving as students seek alcohol in community bars. "What we need to do is to have more things for students to do on weekends."