Dartmouth College Takes a Hard Stance Against Hard Alcohol

Beginning March 30th students will not be allowed to consume liquor with greater than 15% alcohol on campus or at campus sponsored events. Pledging into fraternities will also be banned.

The motivation behind the Ivy League’s new policy is to cut down on student binge drinking and alcohol related hospital visits. The college’s president, Phil Hanlon stated in a speech on Tuesday that “The Steering Committee found that high-risk drinking is far too prevalent on our campus,” and that “the vast majority of alcohol-induced medical transports, it is hard alcohol—rather than beer or wine—that lands students on a hospital gurney.”

The ban on fraternity pledges came as no surprise after an article in Dartmouth’s student newspaper reached national headlines in 2012 when a student wrote about the hazing practices that occur with fraternity pledges. As an alternative to pledging fraternities, Dartmouth promised to create new opportunities and spaces on campus for social activities. Although he didn’t ban Greek Life on campus, Hanlon warned, “If the Greek system as a whole does not engage in meaningful, lasting reform, we will revisit its continuation on campus.”

Banning hard alcohol on campus echoes similar attempts by college campus to cut down on binge drinking, like Penn State University who pays local bars upwards of 170K every year to not serve liquor on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Binge drinking among college students can have immediate health consequences and for a certain percentage, long term consequences. When the binge drinking episodes become more frequent they can lead to alcoholism. Many young adults who have sought treatment for alcoholism recall the start of their binge drinking while in college that persisted and quickly lead to negative consequences. Dartmouth’s new policy may deter many from drinking hard alcohol, but if a student has a problem greater than occasional alcohol abuse, they will find a way to abuse their drink of choice. For those that find themselves ignoring the ban or going off campus just to drink hard alcohol, may want to take a closer look at the precedence they give to alcohol in their lives and seek out help.