Why, No. We Don't Have Anything Better To Do

The University Near Here, despite being in (we're continually told) dire financial straits, continues to spend time and resources on areas that don't have much to do with… y'know… actually educating its student population. Because, that's hard. What's easy is moral posturing, symbolic gestures, and indoctrination. Boy, we got that down pat.

Correction: we don't have that down pat. For example: A Monday press release gave the shocking news: "UNH Will Take All Energy Drinks Off The Shelves Beginning In January 2012".

DURHAM, N.H. – In an effort to further its mission to be the healthiest campus community in the country by 2020 and keep its students safe, the University of New Hampshire will no longer sell energy drinks in its retail and vending locations beginning in January 2012.

I'm not sure how long that press release will stay out of the memory hole. Later that same day, UNH issued a "never mind" statement.

DURHAM, N.H. -- University of New Hampshire President Mark W. Huddleston will delay implementation of a decision announced earlier today to stop selling energy drinks in its retail and vending locations beginning in January 2012.

That's right: we can't even implement our meaningless symbolic gestures without blundering. (For a bit of a chuckle, note the URL on that press release.)

You've no doubt heard of politician's logic, from the Yes, Minister clip above:

  1. Something must be done!
  2. This is something.
  3. Therefore, we must do it!

It's kind of like that. Except in this case, the University was even kind of weak on point one.

The "something must be done" decision was claimed to be in support of the nebulous goal of being "the healthiest campus community in the country by 2020".

Normal folks would ask: is UNH planning to accumulate health statistics on every member of the "communiity" by 2020?

No, of course not. That would be a massive invasion of privacy. Safe bet: There's no measure of how healthy our community is now, there won't be one in 2020, and there will be no comparison with other campuses.

Well, there would be obvious health benefits by stopping the sale of "energy drinks", right?

Probably not. The big concern, it seems, is kiddos mixing them with booze. How many energy drinks used that way were purchased from UNH "retail and vending locations"?

My bet: nobody knows, or even worried too much about finding out.

What percentage of energy drinks sold at UNH are "abused" as opposed to people just looking for a boost?

Again, the safe wager is: nobody knows, or even worried too much about finding out.

Would this have produced a measurable impact on the "health" of the community?

Don't ask silly questions.


Last Modified 2012-09-25 5:39 AM EST