There is really no way to avoid it: the recent brutal sexual assault by a Stanford college student was all over the news and was all the media could talk about. So was the case of the preventable death of a Penn State student who died from injuries received during a fraternity hazing. No matter where you turn, there are violent and sad stories of young people whose lives have been ruined, or lost, due to excessive drinking and the lost quality of human decency.

While common sense and basic human decency can’t be taught in a college seminar, institutions can take steps to educate students about making smart decisions and recognizing when situations may be starting to go in the wrong direction. By providing intervention and prevention programs, colleges can inform students about the dangers and consequences that binge drinking brings about. 

It is vital that colleges adopt early education programs to teach students about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, and to use their common sense in situations. Stanford is an example of one such university making the necessary steps to avoid another incident: they have now made it mandatory for all incoming freshman to complete the first stage of an alcohol education course before their first weekend on campus. While this cannot absolutely guarantee results, it is putting the information out there for students to hopefully make educated and wise choices when it comes to drinking. 

All in all, it shouldn’t take a mandatory college course for students to learn common sense, and how to recognize the signs of a bad situation. It shouldn’t take rapes and deaths to spark these conversations and force people to care for someone enough to ensure they don’t die right in front of them. But, sadly, it does. 

The hope is that from these tragedies, universities can better educate students in order to prevent something similar from ever happening again. By giving students the proper knowledge and tools, they can hopefully learn a lesson in common human decency.