Dartmouth Comes Down on Boozing and Sexual Assault
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Dartmouth Comes Down on Boozing and Sexual Assault


It’s been all over the news lately—sexual assault is not taken seriously on college campuses. Frat boy douches are some of the worst offenders, screwing gals who are trashed without their consent, also known by the penal code as rape. Of course, sexual assault is not limited to these guys, and people are, quite frankly, sick of hearing about the lack of education, resources and punishment for these gnomes who can’t keep it in their pants.

Alcohol Plays a Big Role

Dartmouth President President Philip Hanlon, who took the reigns of the Ivy League college in 2013, isn’t playing around. He’s banned the use of hard alcohol (30 proof or higher, but we probably didn’t need to tell you that) completely on the college campus, including at alumni and social functions. He’s also put the kibosh on whiskey, vodka and Jose Cuervo in fraternity and sorority houses.

Hanlon specifically addressed the problem of “pre-gaming”—you know, when you chug booze before heading out for the night so you’re nice and lubricated by the time you arrive to the club or party or dive bar. This, of course, increases the risk of becoming obliterated beyond recall and therefore susceptible to all sorts of sexual misconduct. Through education programs, and strict penalties for those who violate the rules, Hanlon’s hoping to end the pre-drinking pattern among students.

Dartmouth, in addition to 94 other colleges in the nation, has been under a federal investigation for it’s embarrassingly incompetent handling of sexual assault accusations. Last spring, a pack of students bombarded Hanlon’s office in protest, shoving a long list of demands to end both sexual assault and to foster a diverse and inclusive student population.

No More Hazing Games

It’s no secret that fraternity guys force new members, also known as pledges, to endure all sorts of asinine rites of passage—eating vomit omelets, swimming in shit, urine and semen, to name a few—just so they can turn around and inflict the agony on the next generation of pledges. Hanlon is calling these guys on their bullshit—no more hazing at Dartmouth, and no more pledging either. Once a dude (or chick, although sororities don’t typically engage in hazing) gets accepted in their exclusive and racially homogenized Greek clique, they are immediately full-on members.

Dartmouth is doing some due diligence. In addition to banning hard liquor, they’ve also created serious penalties for sexual assault and brought on an external expert to investigate student allegations. In addition, he’s got the kids reading a mandatory online consent manual every academic year, which defines sexual misconduct to clear up all those grey areas that horny young boys (or women, maybe) have ceased to comprehend—say the fact that if you fuck someone when they’re unconscious, that’s rape.

Gold Stars?

Hanlon’s plan is a good one, and hopefully other colleges will follow suit to start taking sexual assault and binge drinking seriously. While educating students on what constitutes sexual assault and increasing penalties for this criminal behavior is terrific step, it’s not so clear if banning hard alcohol will decrease the intoxication that leads to such behavior.

Kids are sneaky, they know how to sidestep the rules, and even if they didn’t get their hands on the whiskey or vodka or Jose Cuervo, nothing’s stopping them from sucking too much Miller Hi Life straight out of a keg. Any alcoholic can confirm that booze is booze, and you can get pretty fucked up on beer or wine.

But thanks, Dartmouth, for trying.

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About Author

Tracy Chabala is a freelance writer for many publications including the LA Times, LA Weekly, Smashd, VICE and Salon. She writes mostly about food, technology and culture, in addition to addiction and mental health. She holds a Master's in Professional Writing from USC and is finishing up her novel.