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The Dartmouth
February 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

CCAOD recommends radical changes to alcohol policy

Safety and Security officers will once again be monitoring fraternity basements during parties and the number of kegs allowed at parties will be drastically reduced if Dean of the College Lee Pelton approves the alcohol policy recommendations of the College Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs, which were released in a report to the campus this morning.

The 20-page report, released by CCAOD chairman Sean Gorman, contains several recommendations, which, if implemented by Pelton, could radically alter the College's social scene -- especially the Coed Fraternity Sorority system -- possibly as early as the beginning of next term.

Implementation of the CCAOD recommendations will occur completely at Pelton's discretion, and he can choose to accept or ignore any or all of the committee's suggestions.

Pelton said last night the recommendations were based "on very sound observations and objectives" and said they had "tremendous merit."

Students, faculty and administrators are encouraged to make suggestions to the Dean of the College's office regarding the recommendations throughout the rest of the Fall term, Pelton said.

But he added, "I don't expect these discussions to lead to a complete reconsideration or rewriting of the report."

The CCAOD report caps a year-and-a-half of research by the committee, charged by Pelton in the spring of 1996 with conducting a comprehensive review of the role of alcohol within the student community.

The report criticized several aspects of the College's current alcohol policy, particularly the current CFS alcohol self-monitoring system -- saying it "cannot be relied upon by itself to carry out effectively the College's responsibilities." The report urged CFS representatives as well as other students to comply with the proposed Safety and Security patrol recommendation.

If the proposal is implemented, Safety and Security officers will be allowed to patrol "CFS organizations, as they do residence halls and other parts of campus, and ... any resistance or opposition to such patrols will be treated with utmost seriousness."

The report consists mainly of two parts -- observations regarding alcohol use at the College and five recommendations regarding changes in current alcohol regulation policies, including the Safety and Security monitoring proposal.

Although, the CCAOD recognized that CFS organizations were not the "sole source" of campus alcohol, the committee "believes that CFS houses are by far the largest identifiable sources of alcohol consumed by under-age and intoxicated individuals."

"Dartmouth College would be a better institution if alcohol played a less prominent role in the social lives of its students," the report states.

In addition to the Safety and Security monitoring proposal, the report recommended CFS organizations and undergraduate societies be given until Winter term to devise a new alcohol-management plan which complies with College policy and state and federal laws.

"Plans that appear unrealistic, impractical, or ineffective should be disapproved. No house without an approved plan should be permitted to serve alcohol," according to the report.

The report also stated there was no "meaningful limit" on the availability of alcohol on campus and therefore the committee recommended abolishing the current keg formula -- which operates on the assumption of one drink per legal drinker per hour for a five-hour period.

In place of the existing formula, the report recommends a mandatory maximum three keg limit at any registered CFS social event.

The report also recommended a limit of 24 kegs permitted on campus at any one time during each of the Fall, Winter and Spring terms -- and that kegs be banned completely over the summer since very few sophomores are over the legal drinking age of 21.

CFS organizations would also be prohibited from serving alcohol at registered social events after 2 a.m., in an effort to lead the "campus culture away from a situation in which late night drinking is commonplace," according to the report.

The College's current keg policies require all registered kegs to be "tagged" and any CFS organization deviating from this policy are fined $100 per keg violation.

However, the report called the current keg tagging system "largely ineffective, since tags are interchangeable and reusable" and instead proposed a "non-reusable and non-removable sticker system."

The report also criticized the $100 fine, saying it failed to "serve as a deterrent," and proposed higher monetary fines and immediate suspension of social privileges for houses failing to abide by the new policy.

"It is widely believed that there is at least one unregistered keg on campus for every registered one -- more than enough beer for large numbers of students and others to intoxicate themselves," the CCAOD reported.

The committee called for much stronger disciplinary actions against CFS organizations in violation of the new alcohol policy, if approved by Pelton.

Another recommendation was reduced fees for medical care at Dick's House as a result of intoxication.

"While it is fair to charge students the cost of services necessary for their well-being, it is nevertheless true that many students viewed the charge as a 'punishment' for intoxication, and that the charge may have deterred students from getting help for themselves or the friends in some circumstances," the report stated.

This policy actually was already implemented as of this term. The fee at Dick's House was reduced from $500 to $150.

CFSC President Chris Atwood '98 said the recommendations do not come to him "as a surprise" since he had been meeting with Pelton and Gorman regarding the issue for the past several months.

Atwood said the current monitoring system has been under review for a year and the CFSC has already been discussing different monitoring systems.

"All the recommendations are viable," Atwood said. "As for their effectiveness, only time will tell."

The Student Assembly decided last night during their regularly scheduled meeting that members will not take a stance one way or the other on the issue, but instead will help disseminate information regarding the CCAOD report to the rest of the campus.

"Our goal is to be informative, to educate the student body, and listen to their reactions," Assembly President Frode Eilertsen '99 said. "It's not helpful for 50 people to sit around and pass a resolution when we really should be listening to what the entire student body is saying."

The Assembly's Vice President of Administrative and Faculty Relations Case Dorkey '99 said he thinks "there is room for improvement with this report, but it's up to the students to effectively respond and come up with suggestions and better ideas."