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Dartmouth did it, should Castleton?

Dartmouth College recently banned hard liquor on its campus. Castleton students say that it wouldn't have much of an effect here if the same measure was taken.
Dave Blow/Castleton Spartan

Following Dartmouth College’s decision to ban hard liquor on its campus in January, students there have mixed views on how the new policy is working.

And when Castleton students were asked how they would feel about a similar ban here, they said they don’t believe it would work.

Dartmouth’s plan was to ban hard liquor to avoid more embarrassments and trouble, like reported sexual assaults, alcohol poisoning and hazing incidents. The ban came a few days after former Vanderbilt football players were sent to prison for raping an unconscious woman.

Other colleges, like Bates, Colby and Bowdoin, have similar bans, but statistics on sexual assault have not changed much.

In 2013, Dartmouth had 35 reported sexual assaults, which was up from 24 in 2012. Castleton had five reported sexual assaults in 2012 and three in 2013.

Castleton Public Safety Director Keith Molinari believes that Dartmouth’s ban could have potential to cut down on sexual assaults, although he said it wouldn’t completely get rid of them.

Molinari also said that it would be easier to simply have an alcohol-free campus, but he said it wouldn’t be hard to enforce a hard liquor ban because if you see any bottle of hard liquor it gets taken.

Dartmouth’s Public Safety office refused to answer questions about the success of the ban there saying, “We’re really busy here and we don’t answer questions.” They said other departments on campus will, but they don’t have the same information that Public Safety would.

The Student Assembly at the college was somewhat more helpful.

“The student body is very mixed regarding the new ban on hard alcohol,” said Student Assembly member Kevin Donahoe.

Donahoe also said, however, that students understand why the college feels the need to intervene.

But Donahoe also said the ban “may create additional problems such as more exclusivity and less willingness to get help for a friend who is too drunk.”

Many of Castleton’s students had similar views when asked for their opinion.

Erica James, 22, said students will still sneak hard liquor if Castleton had a ban. She also questioned targeting hard liquor in the first place.

“Liquor is quicker, but beer and wine can still cause drunkenness,” she said.

She said she believes that no matter what, students are going to get drunk, but said maybe if they aren’t drinking liquor, there’d be fewer cases of alcohol poisoning.

Jessica Grace, an 18-year-old Castleton student, said she doesn’t believe a ban here would do much good.

“The ban wouldn’t cut down on partying, and students would just go drink hard liquor off campus,” she said.

Although most students interviewed think that banning hard liquor is a good concept, the majority of students here and at Dartmouth don’t think it will work to stop binge drinking and sexual assault. The statistics from other schools seem to support that as well.