The decision to serve beer at the College of Charleston baseball games and possibly at other athletic events is very disappointing. It is another case of an institution placing its financial greed over the health and well-being of its students and the community in general.

Although the legal drinking age is 21, the human brain is not fully developed until the age of 25 and is susceptible to the negative and irreversible effects of alcohol until that time.

What makes this decision ironic and sad is that much of the recent ground-breaking research demonstrating the permanent damage that intermittent drinking causes to the developing brain is being performed right here in Charleston by the Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs at MUSC.

Certainly the C of C has a well-deserved reputation as a “party” school — this is evidenced by a stroll down King Street or by the “frat-style” residences just off campus most Thursday through Saturday nights. Does the athletic department want to bolster this reputation?

It is well known that each year in the United States there are approximately 12,000 alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths. What is not well publicized is that alcohol is responsible for another 20,000 cancer deaths, 7,500 suicides and one half of all the sexual assaults annually in the United States.

Last year the Centers for Disease Control posted a study which showed that alcohol was responsible for almost 88,000 deaths annually in the United States. Another study showed that 36 percent of criminals incarcerated in the U.S. committed their crime while under the influence of alcohol.

A couple of questions that President Glenn McConnell and the administration of this taxpayer-supported institution of “higher education” should answer are: Why do you want to endanger your students and contribute to the potential increased death toll and mayhem on your campus and in our community as a result of making alcohol more available and encouraging its purchase?

How do you plan transporting the students who are of legal age back to the downtown campus from the Mount Pleasant ball field after they have “had a few”? Is making a few more bucks for your athletic department so important that you are willing to put your students in jeopardy on several levels?

As a taxpayer I cannot support this ill-conceived plan nor the absurd reasoning behind the decision.

Joseph Calandra, M.D.

Harriets Island Court

Mount Pleasant