UGA’s student editor proves dangers of drinking

The Red & Black, the independent University of Georgia student newspaper, is reporting on one of its own today in a story about college drinking. This is a tough break for the student/editor involved.

He had to be a talented editor to rise to his top leadership position. I am sorry that he made his big mistake at such a high profile forum and with the current and next state governor present.

But I suspect this is a lesson that Daniel Burnett will never forget. (Take a look at my colleague Jim Galloway’s take on this.)

Also on the Red & Black web site are two other items about drinking, including one about a student who kicked in the door to an apartment. I am not sure how to get the message that drinking, if done at all, ought to be in moderation.

According to the Red & Black:

Daniel Burnett, editor in chief of The Red & Black, has submitted a letter of resignation stemming from an incident in which he was asked to leave the University President’s Box during Saturday’s football game against Georgia Tech.

Burnett was invited to attend the event in Sanford Stadium on behalf of The Red & Black, and was joined by Red & Black News Editor Mimi Ensley. Also in attendance were several administrators as well as public figures such as Georgia Governor-elect Nathan Deal.

Burnett said he had been drinking alcohol at a tailgate before the event.

Once in the box, he said he spoke to University President Michael Adams, Deal and Gov. Sonny Perdue.

Burnett said he was later approached by a University employee who asked to escort him out because it appeared Burnett had been drinking.

“It’s my understanding his behavior was disruptive enough to the point he was asked to leave,” said Meg Amstutz, executive assistant to the president.Burnett told The Red & Black he responded, “Yeah, that’s fine,” before walking out of the box without further confrontation.

“I think someone smelled the vodka,” Burnett said Monday. “I was talking to people, I don’t believe I was being disruptive. But they have the right to escort anybody out. I don’t have a problem with that.”

Red & Black Publisher Harry Montevideo apologized to Adams in a letter sent on behalf of the organization.

“It is disappointing enough when young adults make bad choices, but when those actions then impact the integrity of the institution they represent, it makes an already bad decision that much worse,” he wrote. “I can only hope Daniel and the rest of our staff take away a valuable learning experience from this unfortunate incident, one that will surely haunt Daniel and The Red and Black for many years to come.”

–By Maureen Downey, AJC Get Schooled blog

33 comments Add your comment

Ole Guy

November 29th, 2010
5:06 pm

One of the first skills I acquired in college (actually “re-acquired” old skills learned while flying helicopters in “questionable” conditions) was the “one eyed jack” of vehicle operation. Was it smart? Absolutely not…however, there was, once upon a time, a generation which knew how to adapt to circumstances. Sadly, it would appear that today’s kids, having been handed everything their lil’ ole hearts desired, have seen no need in adapting to anything. They’re too accustomed to the world adapting to them.

Sure, drinking to excess is nothing short of stupid. What’s more stupid is achieving adulthood with absolutely no sense of consequence, and absolutely envisioned with no need to behave accordingly. A generation which never learned to “sidestep lifes landmines” never learned to effectively deal with the challenges of life.


November 29th, 2010
5:13 pm

The partying culture is tamer than it was in the 80s and 90s and for a fact tamer than it was when I got here in 2004. It’s the R&B’s insistence of putting every MIP and alcohol story in print and the police mentality of handing out citations like candy that has added to this fixation on “the grand alcohol problem of UGA”. The R&B has become a student run tabloid rag that attacks other students at every opportunity.


November 29th, 2010
5:53 pm

So, in a culture that values drinking, that even encourages drinking “in moderation”, the young man got snockered and made a fool of himself. I am betting that NONE of the other adults there had EVER been in that position. (sarcasm)

Now, I don’t support drinking. I personally don’t drink. However, at the very least the young man should have been escorted off and put into a cab or someone from the president’s entourage taken him home. After all, just putting him out seems to be encouraging drunk driving/walking. Not too responsible of the president’s men, eh?

My daughter used to sell the AJC on campus on game day when I was in grad school. She said the drunken alums (at 11 am) were the worst–trying to kiss her, cop a feel, etc. She started taking her 6 year old sister along with her for protection! Not only did they leave her alone, but they gave huge tips to the little girl, with her blonde hair in ponytails and her UGA cheerleading outfit on, pulling a wagon. There were parking lots she would not serve, however, because of the calibre of alums that parked there.

The students learn well from the alums. The drunkenness in the stands is crazy.

Toto: exposing the man behind the digital stones

November 29th, 2010
6:09 pm

Good comments Catlady. As a former employee of “The Media”, I can tell you that the student’s behavior would not have been considered unusual-not that that makes it OK. And we have all heard of the antics of many a politician.

Let’s lay down the stones and sing virtual karaoke:
For added inspiration try…

Toto: exposing the man behind the digital stones

November 29th, 2010
6:12 pm

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sharon Ritei, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: UGA’s student editor proves dangers of drinking [...]

NW Georgia teacher

November 29th, 2010
8:08 pm

Why was this made public?


November 29th, 2010
9:35 pm

Glad this guy resigned. Think it is about time we hold people to certain standards. Now if UGA could just hold the tailgaters to the same standard. Excessive drinking is ridiculous and makes many look like complete fools. Drink a beer or two, but don’t go to the extreme and drink a twelve pack.


November 29th, 2010
10:36 pm

Rosie, you sound like a blowhard. Have some fun once in a while and get off the case of people who can enjoy themselves. Yeah… at 22 this kid should be the boring person you seem to be. I’m sure there weren’t other 20-somethings doing the exact same thing Saturday. Get a grip.

Mad about Dem Dawgs

November 29th, 2010
10:39 pm

Yeah, and I am sure this is the first time anyone’s has had a little too much to drink in the UGA’s President’s box. Most Georgia fans in the stands are drunk by kickoff, so this guy (who’s probably over 21) was just living up to what he assumed was expected of him. It’s better for him anyway that he was spared any more time than necessary hanging around the three stooges – Adams, Purdue and Deal.

Dr. Proud Black Man

November 29th, 2010
10:44 pm

No big story here. This young man obviously could not handle his liquor. Has he never heard of breath mints and staying out of peoples faces when you’ve had a nip or two? Young people…sheesh!

UGA Ash.

November 29th, 2010
11:31 pm

This is a joke…. no story here…. way to feed info to the ajc Michael Adams.


November 29th, 2010
11:32 pm

Burnett is a great writer that pissed off the wrong people.

Critical Thinker

November 29th, 2010
11:44 pm

How does this prove the “dangers of drinking”? Where’s the danger? Did he almost fall down a stairwell? Did he taunt the mascot?

No, some student went to a football game, was asked to leave, and so he walked away.

The only danger here is the dangerous need for critical thinking at the AJC!

Aiken Faque

November 30th, 2010
12:29 am

Ole Guy – Good point

Considering how good UGA drinking makes it easier to watch the game.

Catlady – My sympathies for your daughter, no sarcasm here.

NW Georgia teacher – Everything done in the public is public information. Not my fault that you work in a profession that does not foster openness or transparency.

Amanda – Get some moral fiber and leave rosie alone. She is entitled to her opinion. Also if the only way that you can have fun it through consumption, please do yourself a favor get some professional help.

Critical Thinker – The danger here is that there was no one responsible enough to ensure that the student got home safe. Speaks directly to the level of responsibility practiced by University President Michael Adams, Deal and Gov. Sonny Perdue. Why is this no surprise.

This was a lost moment to teach, and a lost moment to demonstrate some level of responsibility.

This is a serious case of a lack of moral ethical leadership by a lot of people. However since the student did get home safe an was not hit by a bus, it is ok.

Aiken Faque

November 30th, 2010
12:34 am

Two corrections

Considering how good UGA is playing, drinking makes it easier to watch the game.

This is a good example of a serious case, of the lack of moral ethical leadership by a lot of people. However since the student did get home safe and was not hit by a bus, it is ok.

My Root Beer got in the way!


November 30th, 2010
8:01 am

What in the world is going on at my beloved place of matriculation? Who does this guy think he is some aspiring elitist “journalist” who can operate with impunity? I guess they do not teach respect for authority anymore. Sonny’s a non-drinker and I don’t know about the rest but he could have at least demonstrated a little temperance while in the presence of the state’s leaders and shakers. This is getting ridiculous.

David Sims

November 30th, 2010
9:44 am

I think that Burnett’s real offense might have been presumptuousness, rather than being disruptive. As I read the story, Burnett was not so far into his cups that he’d deliberately give offense to the UGA President or to the Georgia Governor-Elect. What happened, probably, is that Burnett was too free with his words; i.e., he was palsy with the high-and-mighty, as if he belonged in their society as an equal. Being under the influence of alcohol, he did not lower his eyes to a suitable degree. The High Ones were affronted! They took exception! Burnett was escorted away to be put to shame.

Team Burnett

November 30th, 2010
11:52 am



November 30th, 2010
12:58 pm

There is definitely something missing with this story! What’s sad to me is that everyone is reporting on this event rather than praising Daniel’s work that helped the Red & Black Newspaper win the Pacemaker Award for top college newspaper. I am very sad to hear that Daniel has left the paper and hope that someone will be able to fill half his shoes. I am not a fan of Michael Adams and wonder if this was all set up…


November 30th, 2010
1:25 pm

Does it not make anyone wonder why someone acting so disruptive would just say “yeah that’s fine” and leave? I doubt if he was really wasted and acting a fool, he’d sober up to leave not only peacefully but without any rebuttal? Sounds like Adams got rid of the guy that started where’s Mikey, which exposes Adams as focused on social status rather than progress of the school.

UGA Prof

November 30th, 2010
1:51 pm

David Sims above gets kinda close to how I understand it all came down, though it was a bit more obnoxious than his post suggests, enough so as embarrass all those involved. An editor represents the paper. To waltz into a box with the governor and governor-elect after too much to drink, and act all boozy-chummy, simply goes too far — unless, of course, you donate major bucks. It’s all very unfortunate.


November 30th, 2010
2:25 pm

It seems to me that Adams didn’t like that Daniel wrote and put out stories that didn’t always play good for UGA, but a good journalist has to do what is right. UGA just was awarded the best college paper in the country and one would have to believe that is was in part because Daniel didn’t let other people pull his strings.


November 30th, 2010
2:26 pm

What is the dangers of drinking here?


November 30th, 2010
3:16 pm

catlady: I agree. As much as I love UGA, I won’t take my kids to certain games based on how our alumns act on Saturdays in Athens (and Jacksonville). The level of civility shown toward opposing fans is hardly ribbing or clean fun. The language and behavior is not just a student issue. And I enjoy a couple drinks at a tailgate, but the ugly behavior sours me on the whole experience at times.

I doubt it was simply just the smell of alchohol that cost this young man his position, but he was hardly the only adult demonstrating ugly behavior in Athens on Saturday.


November 30th, 2010
3:45 pm

Winder: Where does it say that he was drunk or out of control? This is Michael Adams getting him back for stories Burnett printed. By the way UGA just was awarded the best college paper in the country last month.


November 30th, 2010
3:47 pm

Seems lik there is more to the story…..


November 30th, 2010
3:50 pm

The rest of the story:

A spokesman for Perdue described the governor’s encounter with the student editor as “friendly and very brief.” A Deal representative said the governor-elect noticed nothing strange.

“[Burnett] asked to take a picture with Nathan, and Nathan did that. That was Nathan’s only interaction with him,” spokesman Brian Robinson said Monday. “Whatever happened that led him to be asked to leave, did not happen in front of Nathan.”

Fellow writer

November 30th, 2010
9:28 pm

As a fellow writer of Burnett’s, I know he is talented. I hope he learns from his mistakes and is given some compassion.


November 30th, 2010
11:07 pm

You may be right about the editor, but what I experience and see from my fellow UGA alumni and fans on weekends of big rivalry games is definitely abusive behavior.

R&B Writer

November 30th, 2010
11:49 pm

This is a Scandal! This story is missing a bit of info.


December 1st, 2010
5:18 am

makes me want to drink alchoholic beverages


December 1st, 2010
8:23 pm

I noticed today that the Red and Black is already going down hill. Burnett will be missed. It’s funny that the people stand up and who aren’t afraid to print somethings, get taken down by a simple mistake. Those are the type of people who made this country great many years ago and it seems that they are few and far between. Let’s hope that there are good strong writers still at the R&B that don’t let Adams tell them what they can and can’t do.