Hanover Police to delay alcohol law enforcement policy
By Conrad Scoville, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Web Update, last updated on Feb 10 | 5:28 pm
Hanover Police will delay implementation of its alcohol law compliance check policy announced last week, pending discussions with the College and student groups, Hanover Police Chief Nicholas Giaccone announced in a press release Wednesday.
“The Town shares with the College the goal of reducing the risks to student health and safety posed by excessive alcohol consumption," Giaccone wrote in the release. “From the statements made in recent days, it is clear that the Greek Leadership Council and other involved student groups also share this goal and are committed to working energetically to achieve harm reduction.”
Hanover Police’s decision will help build a “collaborative effort between the College and the Town,” acting Dean of the College Sylvia Spears said in an interview with The Dartmouth.
“The issue of harm-reduction is our primary goal, and that’s something we share,” she said.
Prior to the decision, members of the Dartmouth and Hanover community had approached Hanover Police to address concerns over the new policy, according to Inter-fraternity Council Vice President David Imamura ’10.
“There definitely were overtures from people outside the student body, including alumni, elected officials and the administration,” he said.
The decision was partly informed by statements at the Hanover Town Select Board meeting Monday by board chair Brian Walsh ’65 Th’66 that students will be charged with forming “meaningful measures to reduce alcohol abuse,” according to the release.
Senior College administration officials were also in accord with students over their concerns, according to Interfraternity Council President Zach Gottlieb ’10.
Gottlieb is a member of The Dartmouth Staff.
“I think Sylvia Spears and [Interim Associate Dean of the College] Harry Kinne and [College] President [Jim Yong] Kim had spoken to some leaders about this, and were supportive of our efforts,” he said. “To really make progress culturally, in terms of addressing the concerns that had been brought up.”
Kinne had been in direct contact with Giaccone over the past several days, Spears said.
“He’s been the primary point person in talking to the Chief of Police,” she said.
Greek and student leaders met in Kim’s office yesterday to begin to develop a system of harm-reduction, Spears said, explaining that encouraging safer drinking is critical to ensuring a positive Greek system.
“My greatest fear is that as acting Dean of the College, that I will ever have to pick up the phone and call a parent and tell them their son or daughter has died of alcohol poisoning,” Spears said.
Leaders are currently formulating a plan to address the issue, she said, which may be available by the end of the week. The College officials are primarily concerned that students may feel they cannot call for help when a peer is dangerously intoxicated, Spears said.
“Anything that could preclude students from picking up the phone when a friend is in need of medical attention is a concern,” she said.
Gottlieb commended Giaccone’s announcement, but stressed that Greek organizations will still attempt to address Hanover Police’s concerns.
“I met with Chief Giaccone this morning, and we discussed it,” he said. “And I just want to say we don’t consider this carte blanche to just go back to the way things were.” Gottlieb said Greek organizations will “reassess” their risk-management policies.
“We’re going to make sure we’re responsible and address the concerns the police raised,” he said.
Hanover Police and town administrators plan to continue working with parties at the College “and will be looking for meaningful change” to come out of the collaboration, according to the release.
“[Giaccone and I] discussed having a recurring meeting for Greek organizations and campus leaders to talk about police concerns,” Gottlieb said. “Kind of more of a check-in on a frequent basis to improve relations between Dartmouth students and Hanover Police.”
Greek and campus leaders are appreciative of Hanover Police’s decision, according to Imamura.
“We’re very pleased that Hanover Police has agreed to work with us,” he said. “They didn’t have to do it.”
Hanover Police’s recent actions – and the Dartmouth community’s response – will encourage an attempt to transform the drinking culture that exists at the College, Spears said.
“The town is certainly in a position where they will want to see change,” she said.
This is a breaking news web update; this article will be updated as more information becomes available.