By The Dartmouth Opinion Staff
Published on Monday, September 10, 2012
Over the summer, Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson proposed several new harm reduction measures targeted primarily at reducing binge drinking. some of these proposed policies, namely harsher punishments for violations and random walkthroughs of common spaces, will be implemented throughout the Fall term. Do you think these policies will be effective?
Dartmouth students will continue binge drinking regardless of the College’s policies, and finding more ways to punish them will not improve the situation. Furthermore, Dean Johnson’s decision to first publicize these new measures in the midst of the presidential search and during the summer, when most students and the ’13 fraternity executives were not on campus, reeks of the same lack of administrative transparency and public relations patching-up that was rampant during President Jim Yong Kim’s tenure. Our campus culture will not change unless the administration is willing to have a real conversation with the student body that seeks mutual agreement on how to reduce alcohol-related harm.
— Don Casler ’14
The revised harm reduction policies will overall be ineffective. While Dean Johnson is working on this praise-worthy endeavor to establish a safe student environment, the policies that will be enacted promote dangerous behavior and demonstrate blatant disregard for each student’s personal choices. By ignoring peer mediation in social events or spaces and instead advocating administrative intervention, the College is intruding on independent lifestyles and simultaneously magnifying the role of the administration.
— Alesy Iturrey ’14
I believe that both the administration and students would be better off by having an open, honest discussion about alcohol and the resulting policies here at Dartmouth. By surprising many students with these new, harsher punishments, the College has alienated many students, and this will greatly reduce the effectiveness of its policies.
— Kevin Francfort ’15
It seems very improbable that a student who drinks excessively does so as the result of an evaluation of the potential pros and cons. The threat of a marginally harsher punishment is unlikely to figure prominently in a prospective drinker’s decision-making. Random walkthroughs may discourage drinking in particular places, but that may only cause a shift to less monitored locations, of which there are plenty. These policies do nothing to address the roots of the problem of binge drinking: at best, they may trim a couple of stray branches.
— Benjamin Schwartz ’15
If the aim of these policies is harm reduction, then no, these policies will probably not be effective. Moreover, some of these policies may even be counterproductive — if underage students cannot drink in fraternity basements, they will likely find other, less supervised locations to drink instead.
— Jonathan Pedde ’14
The Dartmouth student handbook states that “the primary concern of the alcohol policy is the health and safety of members of the College community.” These new policies seem more concerned with tightening the reins on underage drinking instead of viewing reforms under the lens of health and safety of our community.
— David Brooks ’15
Though Dean Johnson’s new policies suggest that the administration is shifting its approach from committee-forming to real, actionable policies, the effectiveness of these policies will require serious buy-in from the student body and Greek Life community. Until these policies are seen as student-led and supported, rather than Dean Johnson imposed, there is little likelihood that they will result in needed change.
— Hannah Hoyt ’13