Short Answer: SPAHRC?

by The Dartmouth Opinion Staff | 3/7/10 11:00pm

Friday's Verbum Ultimum discussed the Student and Presidential Alcohol Harm Reduction Committee. What steps must this new committee take if it is to be effective?

The Student and Presidential Alcohol Harm Reduction Committee should, first, do no harm. Unfortunately, the members of the committee face an unhealthy incentive. Hanover Police has effectively told the College, "Do something, or we'll go through with on-campus sting operations." This means that the committee and the College will be rewarded for taking any action that looks good, regardless of whether it makes the student body safer. When has a committee in such a position ever improved a community?Leonard Lewis '10

It seems odd to me that College President Jim Yong Kim's administration has created more bureaucracy to address drinking problems just weeks after it sought to streamline the College. But I'm not even sure this committee is meant to solve any of the problems associated with drinking. It's a forced gesture that makes the College look accountable.Jasper Hicks '12

SPAHRC's mission to investigate harm reduction and to address issues associated with legal compliance is worthy. The fact that similar committees have failed to produce effective changes does not mean that this one has to follow suit. Hopefully SPAHRC will be receptive to student input (like the ideas expressed by The Dartmouth Editorial Board) while the committee is still in its formative stages.Blair Sullivan '10

Short of a federal law to lower the drinking age, I don't think there is much that the Committee can do. Between common knowledge and AlcoholEdu, I'm confident most students know the dangers of drinking. However, fear of incarceration continues to motivate most dangerous drinking behaviors in spite of this awareness.Chris Talamo '11The committee should realize that it can only be effective in a few limited areas, such as providing guidance to fraternities on what to do in dangerous situations and providing alternatives, such as community service trips, to spending the weekend partying. Limiting SPAHRC's focus in this way would be beneficial; Dartmouth can spend its time and resources on better things than worrying about students' social habits.Brendan Woods '13

The new committee doesn't have the capacity to be effective, no matter what steps it takes. People know binge drinking is dangerous, and they do it anyway. I don't see how a committee could change their minds. As for legality, the committee must either outrage the students or Hanover Police. If they seek to help the enforcement of the law, the students will revolt. If they refuse to help enforce the law, Hanover Police will probably try to finally enforce their proposed policy. It's a no-win situation.Peter Blair '12

This new committee must follow the legacy of former College President James Wright in his support of the Amethyst Initiative. Instead of trying to circumvent the real issue at hand, SPAHRC must assemble the student body to defeat an unconstitutional drinking age law that continues to plague our campus and nation.Julian Sarkar '13

SPAHRC needs to start by clearly outlining how its goals are different from the other organizations' that currently exist in response to alcohol use on campus, otherwise people will dismiss it as an insignificant public relations tactic. If this organization is unique in some way, a good place to start is frank discussion of how people feel about current practices of alcohol consumption and where they think change is needed. This discussion should not only include ardent proponents of fraternity life who have a strong interest in preserving the current social scene, but also non-drinkers and unaffiliated students with differing views on alcohol use at Dartmouth.Natalie Colaneri '12