Dartmouth bans hard liquor in an effort to make the campus safer. Jake New from Inside Higher Ed reports.

Taking On Dartmouth Culture

As part of a major new plan to excise “extreme behaviors” on its campus, Dartmouth College announced Thursday that it will ban hard alcohol, create a new student housing system and adopt a sexual violence prevention program that will be part of all four years of an undergraduate education. During a speech announcing the new plan, Philip Hanlon, Dartmouth’s president, also urged faculty to help curb grade inflation and to consider scheduling classes earlier in the morning.

“You have heard me speak of a campus that is even more intellectually energized, a site of significant academic entrepreneurship and innovation, a place of big ideas, bold efforts and path-breaking scholarship,” Hanlon said in an address to the campus. “Everything is possible for Dartmouth. But our aspirations will never be realized if we fail to address a vital component: the environment in which our students live and learn.”

The plan — created after nearly a year of research and soul-searching — was met with mixed reaction Thursday. Some observers praised its scope and others dismissed it as little more than “window dressing.” Alumni like Joseph Asch, a Dartmouth graduate who once ran for a seat on the college’s Board of Trustees, were mostly just relieved that the plan didn’t abolish the institution’s Greek system, as many faculty members have urged.

“Not for [Hanlon] the radical projects that rarely lead to the results expected,” Asch wrote on his blog, Dartblog. “He has a sense of where he is going, and while that destination is not original, there is little likelihood that his plans will leave Dartmouth worse off, and a strong chance that campus life in Hanover will be better for his thinking.”

Art Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and former president of Columbia University’s Teachers College, said the plan’s goals may not be as easily attainable as Dartmouth’s administration hopes, especially the prohibition of hard alcohol.

“It’s an important statement of Dartmouth’s values,” Levine said, “but ending hard liquor on campus is a really hard thing to do.”

At Dartmouth, that has been especially so, and the administration has tried — with varying degrees of success — to crack down on student drinking for at least six decades. When John Sloan Dickey was president between 1945 and 1970, the college’s reputation for being unconcerned about alcohol abuse made it difficult, he said, to recruit faculty and students. In April of last year, Hanlon blamed a 14 percent decline in Dartmouth’s applications on “routinized excessive drinking, sexual misconduct and blatant disregard of social norms.”

Read the original article:
Taking On Dartmouth Culture (Inside Higher Ed)