Administrators discuss drinking
Dean of the College Jim Larimore, Director of Undergraduate Judicial Affairs April Thompson, College Proctor Harry Kinne and Director of Health Services Jack Turco spoke about alcohol and the College at a nearly empty town meeting Wednesday night.
The meeting, which was sponsored by the Student Assembly, drew 28 people to Collis Commonground and lasted roughly an hour and a half.
"I think most people were out drinking, but they will hear about it," Student Body President Noah Riner '06 said about the disappointing attendance.
The panel of administrators addressed College policy, enforcement and culture surrounding alcohol consumption with all four taking a realistic view of underage drinking.
"Pragmatically speaking, a zero-tolerance policy on alcohol on a campus isn't going to work," Kinne said. "We are very lucky here at Dartmouth to take a practical approach where the bottom line is safety."
The administrators were concerned, however, about the way excessive drinking disturbs the college atmosphere.
Larimore cited a survey in which 23 percent of students polled experienced unwanted sexual advances from someone under the influence of alcohol as he compared drinking to second-hand smoke because it affects even those who do not directly participate.
"It's your experience that is compromised if you come out into a lounge and someone has thrown up there," Larimore said. "It becomes a problem if you can't approach life on the campus assuming your own safety and security."
Turco said the biggest impediment to a safe drinking environment is the high legal drinking age.
"It makes it very difficult for responsible drinking to be modeled when the majority of students that are drinking are drinking illegally," Turco said. "You have high-risk drinkers and low-risk drinkers all mixed together."
Because incoming freshmen tend to have more problems with excessive drinking, Turco added, the drinking problem on campus can never truly be solved.
"People are more responsible when they graduate, but there is a whole new group of freshmen coming in behind them," Turco said.
Larimore, meanwhile, was most concerned with drinking in dormitories.
"I worry about the pregaming and how much drinking goes on there," Larimore said. "There are some students that really push the envelope, and those students are vulnerable."
The administrators also discussed the College's recently revised "Good Samaritan" policy. Thompson stressed that the policy is strictly in students' best interest and that its use does not result in disciplinary action.
"A Greek house doesn't need to worry about getting in trouble if they are making a Good Samaritan call," Thompson said.
According to Kinne, Safety and Security has noticed that students are becoming less hesitant to use the policy even though some still do so apprehensively.
Larimore ended the discussion by saying that students should take the time to get to know Safety and Security officers -- before they encounter them at 3 am.
"Recognize that they are human beings behind the uniforms," Larimore said.