University of the Cumberlands President James Taylor recently wrote a powerful letter to the editor to the News Journal in Corbin urging citizens to vote against bringing alcohol into Williamsburg in a local option election on March 20. The message is a good one for citizens throughout Kentucky to hear:
U of C President says alcohol sales in W’burg would have negative effect
To the Editor:
While much is being said about the potential benefit of alcohol sales in Williamsburg, there is another side to the story.
It has been my privilege to be associated with University of the Cumberlands as a student and an employee for more than 48 years. During this time I have experienced many situations in which alcohol use has had a negative and often detrimental impact on the lives of our students, alumni, or employees. I recall two occasions in which I’ve had to call parents because their children had! been killed in alcohol-related automobile accidents. In addition, one of our graduates and her unborn child were killed by a drunk driver while she was standing in her front yard, What a senseless tragedy! There are other similar stones that could be told as well.
To understand the potential consequences of proposed alcohol sales in Williamsburg, one need only to read the papers and listen to the news regarding the damaging effect alcohol has on individuals and families. Additionally, statistics of alcohol abuse among college students throughout the nation are staggering. While I believe we have an extraordinary student body on our campus, I cannot deny the potential impact that alcohol sales in our community may have on these individuals with their new found freedoms while living away from parents or guardians. The obvious realization is that if alcohol sales come to Williamsburg, alcohol related tragedies will only increase.
Alcohol ads, like the drug itself, always mask the stark reality of alcohol’s harmful effects. These ads never show the lives of individuals who are devastated by alcohol. The ads never include the undeniable statistics on deaths, domestic violence and such things that always involve someone’s child or spouse 0r some other beloved family member. The journey to alcoholism always begins with the first drink, is a gradual process facilitated by a casual attitude toward the use. of alcohol and ultimately leads to the destruction of individuals, families and communities.
One must ask, “Do the proposed benefits of alcohol sales really merit tile destruction that will undeniably accompany such a decision?” I believe the answer is obvious.
You can help limit the potential for additional alcohol related tragedies. Go to the polls on March 20th and vote NO on alcohol sales in Williamsburg. In doing so, your life or the life of a close friend or loved one may be the one that is spared the sorrow which alcohol has brought to so many.
James H. Taylor
President, University of the Cumberlands