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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    George Huguely’s drunk murder should force students to voice concerns

    Stupid drunks are at every single party. They’re the ones no one wants to have at their parties because they’re the ultimate annoyance, and they love to stir up trouble. A lot of the time, these people may have legitimate drinking problems. Unfortunately, when they’re sober, they’re often great people, and that makes it harder for friends to stand up to them.

    The case of George Huguely V, a University of Virginia student, has brought this issue into the spotlight. His friends failed to address his drinking problem in time, leading to the second-degree murder of his girlfriend, Yeardley Love. People need to recognize they have some responsibility for their stupid, drunk friends’ actions.

    Friends of Huguely told authorities they believed he had developed a drinking problem his senior year, getting trashed several times a week. They also claimed that, right before the murder case, they were considering holding an intervention for him. They waited too long.

    Hughley had a whole day of nonstop drinking on May 2, 2010, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    He said he grabbed Love by the neck, shook her and wrestled her to the ground, hitting her head on the way down. He left her there bleeding, but breathing. Prosecutors argued that Huguely tried to kill Love on purpose; the defense argued he “contributed” to her death, but didn’t actually kill her or mean to.

    This was not the first incident. Apparently, after a previous violent act against her, he wrote her a note that said “Alcohol is ruining my life. I’m scared to know that I can get that drunk to the point where I cannot control how I act.”

    If he knew this before, it’s a wonder why he continued with it.

    Students need to know how to be a friend to those close to them who begin developing a problem with alcohol. Step Up! is a program that was originally developed at the UA, but only for athletes. It was adopted by the University of Virginia and advises students on how to approach their friends to stop these habits.

    It can be difficult and embarrassing to tell a friend that you’re concerned for them.

    The UA has programs for all students with substance abuse problems as well. First, Counseling and Psychological Services gives confidential short-term counseling. Second, the alcohol and other drug prevention program, which is part of Health Promotion & Preventive Services, has risk reduction programs for students, presentations, and an educational class called SHADE.

    But these programs are only useful if students are aware that their drinking habits have become a problem. If a friend is truly concerned about another’s drinking, it can be awkward to bring it up, but it would be worse to sit at a funeral or a trial and wonder why no one ever stood up and spoke out.

    Officials should make it well known around campus that help is out there by expanding Step Up! to non-athletes and having a representative speak with UA students during at least one class per semester. Doing so may help students feel more comfortable with the nerve-wracking idea of informing friends of their concerns.

    In the long run, those with the problem will know who cared enough about them to help turn their life around. Love’s death should serve as a wake up call to students to speak up before it’s too late.

    — Danielle Carpenter is a pre-journalism freshman. She can be reached at or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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