By Ritchey Howe
BY RITCHEY HOWE
Dartmouth College decides to ban hard alcohol.
Dartmouth’s decision to ban hard alcohol on campus shocked me. Do they really believe that they can rid a college campus of hard alcohol? Imagine an animal house without, well, the true animal. The toga party would not have existed as portrayed on the screen. Admittedly, this school rule will never work at Harvard because, unlike Hanover, NH, Cambridge is an urban setting where it is far too easy for students to access hard liquor. Even at a rural school such as Dartmouth, kids will continue to stash hard alcohol under beds, in drawers, and between floorboards in their dorm rooms. Therefore, I wonder if Dartmouth expects any true changes on their campus or if they are simply putting on a good publicity stunt. It’s as if they need to say, “See, we are addressing this issue. Now get off of our backs!” While only time will tell if this policy has significant positive change, I seriously doubt it. Perhaps the policy will even have negative effects…
While this policy is supposed to improve the safety of students at parties, I fear that this rule will only cause certain students to turn to harder substances, drugs, or drink hard alcohol outside of the frat houses. This last point is extremely dangerous because it will incentivize students to drink large amounts of alcohol off campus, which could lead to drinking and driving. When I asked some friends who are currently undergraduates at Dartmouth, they all iterated how they will find ways around this rule.
Similarly to the prohibition era, drinking will never fully disappear from any society, or any college campus. I believe that a better way to curb the violence and the other hazards that can follow drinking is through education. If each fraternity was forced to attend lectures and workshops concerning alcohol-related issues, perhaps this could better inform students about the college’s drinking concerns. Some op-ed writers believe that Dartmouth’s admission office should be at fault for admitting students who cannot handle alcohol and are capable of these atrocities. However, as we have seen here at Harvard, these issues unfortunately are not confined to Dartmouth.
I suppose my drinking preferences are that of a typical girl. When I go to parties, I rarely drink beer and if given the option, always prefer a mixed drink. Of course, without this option I would begrudgingly switch to beer. But shouldn’t that be my choice? I’m 21; when I go to a bar I can choose from whatever I want. Shouldn’t a fraternity be able to provide a similar selection to their guests? While there have certainly been mornings where I regret drinking the amount that I did, I believe that it was only due to those nights that I can now drink responsibly.
Cutting out hard alcohol will postpone this vital lesson for Dartmouth students. I suppose Dartmouth simply doesn’t want to deal with the repercussions of these lessons. College provides an environment where students, while some are legally minors, are exposed to alcohol without parental supervision. It has been this way for decades! I hope that colleges continue to let students have this learning and maturing opportunity. For greater public safety, I believe it will be better for young adults to potentially have these alcohol-related issues on a campus where help and support is nearby as opposed to being in a larger city or town.
Ritchey Howe ’17 (firstname.lastname@example.org) says salut to alcohol education.