Henry Wechsler is sounding the alarms again. That is what you do when you see academe as a landscape lined with “party houses awash in a sea of alcohol,” a culture imperiled by destructive drinking traditions, a community with too few guards at the gates.

Mr. Wechsler, director of the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study, knows how to speak in the foreboding tones that catch the ears of parents and college presidents.