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Alcohol Enforcement: Safety & Security

First in an eight-part series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.


To the Freshman Class: Unless you are from a dry county somewhere in the Midwest, welcome to the place with the harshest enforcement of the underage drinking laws in America. We’ll look at the stats for the Hanover Police tomorrow, but let’s start off by observing that you stand a far higher chance of being cited for an alcohol violation by Dartmouth’s Safety & Security force than by the campus police at any of our Ivy sister schools. Look at the Clery Act statistics, which the College administration and all other institutions of higher learning report each year to the federal government:

AlcViolations.jpg

(Note: Penn has already reported for 2008, so their stats are for 2006-2008. Does Penn report first because totaling up their numbers is so much easier?)

These are figures per 1,000 students. The raw number for the 2005-2007 period is daunting: 493 Dartmouth students were picked up by Safety & Security for alcohol violations during this period.

It does not have to be so. For instance, a comment in the July/August, 2006 edition of the Yale Alumni Magazine describes a different approach to alcohol: “Yale’s policy on underage drinking. … says that students must abide by state and local laws and university rules. … In practice, though, administrators spend little time policing routine underage alcohol use.”

This tolerance is about the only way that New Haven is superior to Hanover as a place to live — but you might have a tough time recalling that fact when you are telling your parents that you have an interview with a Dean after blowing a 0.03% BAC because you illicitly imbibed a single cup of Keystone.

Of course, the College is once again reviewing the SEMP or AMP or whatever-they-are-called regulations — as it seems to do every few years. However, as local history shows, the effect of any new regs will be negligible: alcohol is easily available and student use, and overuse, is widespread.

But let’s not be too harsh on S&S. In this instance, they can legitimately say that they are just following orders. We should look to President Kim to make a clean break from the failed policies of the last decade. He should tell S&S to lay off; their job should only be to ensure that students are safe and secure.

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