by Andy Braham
Right now, Stanford disgusts me…I mean, the administration gives me the heebie-jeebies. The latest in a series of old-boys’-club-reminiscent actions by the acclaimed institution has led me to believe that the school does not have the students best interests at heart .
Post the infamous Brock Turner sexual assault case, the school attempted to institute a new policy and make it seem like they were part of the solution, not the problem. This policy “allegedly” bans hard alcohol.
The school has “banned” alcohol over 40 proof, in containers larger than 750ml, from entering campus. This means that students can possess 750ml of hard alcohol or any amount of beer and wine. Hard alcohol is banned at parties if it’s consumed directly such as in shots or if the party is not entirely made up of graduates.
Thus, hard alcohol is not banned, it’s merely restricted and in a fashion that does not greatly affect its use. The students can drink it before the party in their dorm rooms, known as “pre-gaming,” or go to a party outside the campus where the school has no jurisdiction.
If you want to ban hard alcohol, just ban it outright and don’t add silly exceptions which undermine the policy’s effectiveness. Who will enforce this rule at a party with a hundred or so red solo cups? Do campus police really have the time to look through even ten? What good does it do if the person passed out drunk on the floor got there from tequila or a Heineken? If people want to reach a certain level of intoxication, they will do it. At Dartmouth, where hard alcohol is completely prohibited, 85 percent of students still admit to drinking it in the last month. According to George Koob, the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “even schools that are completely dry don’t get rid of the problem of excessive drinking.”
The so-called ban ignores many realities of sexaul assault. First, pregaming and drinking in one’s dorm room is significantly riskier because one is out of sight of other people, providing fertile ground for sexual assault. In addition, the ban encourages drinking off-campus, which has its own consequences. Students will go to more unsupervised parties which puts them at greater risk. As Stanford law professor Michele Dauber puts it, “I just think that this policy is a ‘Look, we’re doing something’ moment, but what it’s doing is potentially more dangerous for students.”
However, the most gut wrenching reason why Stanford is clearly missing the mark with this policy is that it snubs the victim. Brock Turner’s main defense in court was a sob story about “Stanford party culture” where that alcohol was responsible for his actions. Turner pathetically said “I made a mistake, I drank too much, and my decision hurt someone … my poor decision making and excessive drinking hurt someone that night.” Stanford must think alcohol is an appropriate excuse for sexual assault because reducing its consumption is their first action.
Alcohol in itself is not evil and does not make men drag unconscious women behind dumpsters. The victim wrote “Alcohol was not the one who stripped me,(…), had my head dragging against the ground, with me almost fully naked. Having too much to drink was an amateur mistake that I admit to, but it is not criminal.” The victim here understood alcohol was not purely to blame, as do we all. Now Stanford needs to get up to speed.
(Source: Time, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, NPR)