WHAT do young people do in college? According to legend...

Salmagundi

April 21, 1995

WHAT do young people do in college? According to legend, they party, drink and indulge in casual sex.

What do they do when school is out? They party, drink and indulge in casual sex.

While the first statement may have more to do with wishful thinking than reality, there is a glimmer of truth in the second.

Despite rumors to the contrary, college isn't all fun and games. It requires discipline, perseverance, and sacrifice for the average student to make it through four years of higher education. So when they finally get a break students have a tendency to go out of their way to make up for their good behavior.

The folks in places like Ft. Lauderdale have known this for a long time: When school lets out, put away the breakables and serve only on paper plates.

The people in Atlanta are finally learning the same lesson.

Hundreds of thousands of college students descend on Atlanta every year to celebrate "Freaknik." The residents complain. The students let loose, party too much and generally make a nuisance of themselves. The residents complain some more. The students party some more and then everybody goes home until next year.

Sounds about right. So what's the problem?

The students in Atlanta are black. When people in a city complain about an influx of young black people there are cries of racism and tensions mount.

This is an especially serious problem for Atlanta as it prepares to host the 1996 Olympics. The last thing the city needs is rising racial tension.

Perhaps instead of becoming alarmed at this wave of young people preparing to lay siege to the city, Atlanta should welcome them and the revenue they represent. After all, even college students have to eat and sleep somewhere. If Atlanta wants to profit from the tourist industry, it will have to learn to put up with the tourists.

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