Price of alcohol treatment is out of hand

by Ethan Ostrow | 11/3/93 6:00am

Alcohol has once again proven to be the bane of the College, but thanks to a new price adjustment the evil demons in spirits of wine are more intensely molesting the students themselves. The price of a night in Dick's House for a student retained there with a blood alcohol level of over .10 has risen from last year's figure of $300 to this year's outrage of $450.

To be perfectly honest, the College has some definite reasons why it should be engaged in the protection of students from civil authorities. Last Thursday Safety and Security released statistics indicating that in October, 46 students were released to friends or roommates, and 32 students were taken to Dick's House, all presumably in "various states of intoxication."

The Hanover Police Department would be quite a circus if all 78 of these inebriates were dealt with by local authorities, and Dartmouth would be embarassed to have the community clean up the mess made by its students. Therefore Safety and Security vehicles are more often observed scouring the campus rather than Hanover Police cars.

Parents would also have a difficult time accepting a situation in which their children were continuously apprehended by local authorities. Both police records and school records can throw deep dents into a student's future, although parents have more control over the records they pay for.

Indeed, babysitting lies between the lines on the College tuition bill, and parents implicitly secure this service from the College through the satisfaction of regular financial commitment.

Certainly the College would officially deny this, claiming that each student as an adult is responsible for knowing and obeying the laws of New Hampshire, but the school's incentive to maintain a somewhat hermetic community is too great. The policy with the lowest risk is naturally the one which keeps the sustenance providers happiest.

Now we come to the $450 College Health Service bill. The total penalty to a student caught with a BAC over .1 comes to $500 after the adjudication of the Student Alcohol Policy fine. Last year's total fine might have been a severe punishment, but this year the price is simply inappropriate. It has ceased to be a credible deterrent and become an unreasonable disciplinary measure.

I'm almost tempted to open my own room up every weekend for the care of the College's many inebriates. I would imagine it would be a very lucrative decision, even after the cost of a breathalyzer machine and a few cots.

My roommates and I would endure obnoxious drunken behavior, clean up some vomit, and even distribute popsicles every hour for the paltry sum of $200. Judging by the Safety and Security statistics for October, we would clear well over $6000.

In a more serious vein, however, excessive consumption of alcohol can be a life and death matter. The College Health Service is an essential and prudent fixture for the welfare of the Dartmouth community, although the monetary expense for the treatment of intoxicated students warrants justification. Be it the going rate for medical treatment or a stringent disciplinary measure, it does not amount to $450.

Those wandering the streets of the Dartmouth campus after having had a few drinks should beware not only for their safety, but they should also keep a watchful eye on their wallets.