The College Considers New Alcohol Policies

Thinking about sending your senior some single malt scotch for his birthday? Not so fast.

Dartmouth_College_campus_2007-06-23_Parkhurst_Hall

Much of campus is waiting for details of the new alcohol proposals to emerge from Parkhurst.

New regulations currently under consideration may limit the amount and type of alcohol that students can consume on campus. According to a recent article in The Daily Dartmouth, “The Moving Dartmouth Forward” committee has been researching alcohol policies at peer institutions and is examining the efficacy of a hard alcohol ban, a prohibition on drinking games, and an “open door policy” in campus residence halls. These changes are designed to curb high-risk drinking and are envisioned as an important step in the pursuit of President Hanlon’s vision for a safer and more inclusive campus.

As of this writing, many committee members have expressed their optimism about the new the regulations, noting the success of similar restrictions at schools like Bates and Stanford and the “innovative” nature of the plans as they’ve been conceived.

Reactions on the rest of the campus, however, have been far more mixed. Supporters have claimed that the changes will help blunt the dangers of in-dorm “pregames” and will promote a culture of inclusiveness by making drinking activities more public. Detractors have attacked the proposals as a “breach of trust” and suggest that the open door policy (which the administration insists will only “encourage” dorm access during parties) has an element of Orwellian muchness to it. Both sides acknowledge that the key to the regulations’ success or failure will be the nature of their implementation and are waiting for more specific details to emerge so they can better understand what they will mean for campus life.

Regardless of what is ultimately proposed, however, it looks like the fault lines are already emerging in what will be another contentious debate about the place of alcohol on campus. For now, as is so often the case, the campus remains quiet, as it waits for the administration to show more of its hand.