Dartmouth Seeks to Tame Students' Behavior

By Ramer, Holly | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), January 30, 2015 | Go to article overview

Dartmouth Seeks to Tame Students' Behavior


Ramer, Holly, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


HANOVER, N.H. - Dartmouth College banned hard liquor on campus Thursday and said all students will have to take part in a sexual violence prevention program all four years they're enrolled at the Ivy League school. Dartmouth has long tried to move past its hard- partying reputation, but the latest steps come amid a national furor over sexual assault on college campuses and the role drinking plays in the violence.

"Colleges and universities across the country face the issues I've detailed today, President Philip Hanlon said. "We are not alone in facing them, but we will take the lead in saying, No more.'

Other colleges, including Colby, Bates and Bowdoin in Maine, have banned hard liquor on campus. Dartmouth officials said the school will be the first in the Ivy League to take such a step, and the first college or university aside from military academies to require four-year sexual violence prevention education. Many colleges require students to take part in one-time programs, almost always during their freshman year.

Dartmouth, which partly inspired the 1978 comedy "Animal House, received nationwide attention for allegations of fraternity hazing several years ago, and it's one of 95 schools under federal investigation for its handling of sexual harassment and violence. Students protested at Hanlon's office last spring with a long list of demands aimed at creating a more inclusive, diverse campus.

The plan Hanlon presented Thursday was the product of the "Moving Dartmouth Forward steering committee created in April to study problems the president said were "hijacking the school's promise: high-risk drinking, sexual assault and a lack of inclusion.

In addition to banning hard liquor starting with the new term at the end of March and implementing the sexual violence prevention program, the plan ends pledge or probationary periods for all student groups and creates new residential communities.

"Our aspirations will never be realized if we fail to address a vital component: the environment in which our students live and learn, he said in a speech to students, faculty and staff. "We must recognize a moment in time when change is necessary in order to reach our potential, and now is such a moment.

Sexual assault on college campuses has been in the spotlight as students and the federal government demand stricter policies and stronger enforcement. Dartmouth recently overhauled its policies to include harsher sanctions and a trained external expert to investigate allegations. It will expand on that work with the new mandatory program, an online consent manual to reduce ambiguity about acceptable behavior and a smartphone app to allow students to seek help if they feel threatened, Hanlon said. …

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