Alcohol Policy in national spotlight

In a speech given to students, faculty, staff and alumni on Jan. 29, Dartmouth University’s President Philip Hanlon announced a new hard alcohol ban across campus. Dartmouth’s hard alcohol ban was enacted along with a new alcohol and student life program titled “Move Dartmouth Forward.”

The program aims to create a better environment for students to continue learning while also curving the excessive partying that has been noted in the past.

“Undergraduate students will not be permitted to possess or consume hard alcohol in residential spaces or other college property, and hard alcohol will not be served at college-recognized organizational events,” Hanlon said in his speech.

Students’ safety was the primary reason for the ban. The quick consumption of hard liquor has a faster and overall more dangerous effect on students compared to beer or wine.

“Hard alcohol presents a greater risk of over-consumption than do other forms of alcohol, particularly when it is not being served by a professional bartender,” said Diana Lawrence, the Director of Media Affairs at Dartmouth University.

The new policy will require a lot””enforcement will need to be continuous and student monitoring will be more intensive.

“Safety and Security Officers and Residential Life staff will be trained to enforce the new policy, and the role of undergraduate advisors will be expanded to include “rounds” on nights when students are likely to drink in the residence halls,” Lawrence said.

The new Dartmouth policy is similar to one already in place at Trinity. The Trinity University Police Department also wants to protect students from over-drinking to a dangerous point. According to assistant chief Pete Perez, Jr., one of the biggest concerns is protecting students from themselves.

“Our main thing is to educate the students, we aren’t saying, “˜No don’t do it,’ we are just saying, “˜Do it responsibly and look what can happen,’ the consequences in case you are caught DWI or you can get hurt or incapacitated,” Perez said.

According to the Trinity Alcohol policy online, the philosophy behind the hard alcohol ban is to acknowledge that students will drink. However, students are discouraged from binge drinking and making irresponsible decisions. David Tuttle, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students also heads the alcohol coalition, which contains student, staff and faculty members.

“By having that philosophy, any decisions we make about policy and things and events should all fit within that framework,” Tuttle said. “So this is why we have the Tigers’ Den with alcohol in it and now we serve beer and wine from the Skyline room for student events. So it’s a way to acknowledge that students will drink.”

Trinity’s own hard alcohol policy was put into place back in the 80s when the legal drinking age jumped from 19 to 21. Students were no longer allowed to have hard alcohol in dorm rooms or on campus.

“I think Dartmouth has come to the same conclusion that Dr. Brazil came to””which I have now come around to””which is: it may not eliminate binge drinking, it will not eliminate people from buying hard alcohol, but it does potentially slow that down a little bit,” Tuttle said.

Students who violate the Trinity policy are recorded by TUPD and are subject to punishment by the Student Conduct Board.

“If we get called to a dorm or an area on campus and there’s an intoxicated student or persons or whatever””whether we find under 21 or over 21, all the aspects of whatever the case may be””we forward all of this to the student conduct board,” Perez said.

Dartmouth anticipates other universities to follow in their footsteps. Hanlon noted in his speech that many other schools are struggling with similar problems but that Dartmouth aims to end that for their institution.

“Colleges and universities across the country face the issues I’ve detailed today.  We are not alone in facing them. But we will take the lead in saying, “˜No more,'” Hanlon said.