Short Answer: Alcohol Arrests

by The Dartmouth Opinion Staff | 5/2/10 10:00pm

Friday's Verbum Ultimum addressed Hanover Police's new policy regarding the arrests of intoxicated underage students. Is this a step in the right direction or just a public relations move?

At first, I was willing to give Hanover Police the benefit of the doubt and believe that their new policy although it doesn't bring much real change was a gesture of goodwill towards students. That is, until I read this week's Campus Blotter (April 29) and found that a student who was reporting an assault to the police was subsequently arrested for underage intoxication. Incidents like this bring into doubt how much Hanover Police really cares about students.Ethan Wang '13

This change is definitely a step in the right direction if it makes people more willing to utilize the Good Samaritan policy and to make sure that overly intoxicated students receive the medical attention they need. Safety should be our first concern.Emily Baxter '11

The new policy is a good public relations move, but it remains to be seen whether it is a wise strategic move. If subsequently, this small concession makes student groups less likely to dig in their heels and more likely to accept regulations on this campus' profane and dangerous drinking culture, then this was a great and admirable ploy. If, however, students take this to mean that they can win proverbial showdowns with law enforcement, and the measure entices them to become even more belligerently opposed to reform, then we are all the worse for this decision.Raza Rasheed '12

I think that this announcement is beneficial to the many students who are still unclear about the implications of the Good Samaritan Policy. This new policy may not really change existing consequences for underage drinkers (since previously, arrests were wiped off of students' records), but making it so students are not afraid that a friend might be arrested will decrease the fear of making a necessary call to Safety and Security.Natalie Colaneri '12

The tug-of-war match between Dartmouth students and the Hanover Police Department over the legal consequences of underage drinking and intoxication will never end. Hanover Police has budged an inch with this recent shift in policy, and we should be grateful for though not necessarily content with this minor victory.Kevin Niparko '12

Hanover Police reform is an issue so hypothetical that it can be counted among the metaphysical entertainments like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Indeed, the men in blue arrested a man for underage intoxication as he tried to report an offender for assault! For now, this is just a PR move.Josh Kornberg '13Acting Dean of the College Sylvia Spears and the Hanover Police should be ashamed of themselves for promoting this "policy change" as anything but a pathetic PR scheme. Nothing substantive has been altered whatsoever; students always had the option of attending the $400 dollars Diversions course to evade a police record after their first alcohol violation. As Ivy League students, we should be able to smell BS when it's shoved under our noses we must continue to demand meaningful reform.Jordan Osserman '11

Although the new policy changes the consequences for underage drinking only minimally, it is a step in the right direction in terms of improving the tenor of student-police relations. Students often view Hanover Police as "out to get them," and the proposed sting operations in February did nothing to help this perception. With a minor policy tweak, Hanover Police managed to demonstrate concern for student safety and a willingness to work with the student body qualities that previously had seemed to be lacking. As I have said before, students have more responsibility for their safety than Hanover Police, but better student-police relations are an unquestionably positive development.Emily Johnson '12

The Verbum seems to imply that the only way to solve alcohol-related issues is through complete non-enforcement of state laws. There is no policy magic wand that Hanover Police can wave to fix the drinking problem. I think Hanover Police has done its part; it is up to Dartmouth and, most of all, individual students to moderate their behavior and fix any alcohol issues that may still exist.Brendan Woods '13

Hanover Police's new policy should be looked at as a gesture of good faith between the College and the Hanover Police Department. While the policy may not effect much real change, any move towards greater cooperation to ensure the safety of students is worth supporting.Jacob Batchelor '12

The Hanover Police Department's new alcohol policy is a strong step towards placing responsibility back in the hands of Dartmouth students. Graduates of Dartmouth should leave Hanover having developed and learned from their own decision-making, rather than as products of faulty and unjust laws.Julian Sarkar '13

When the Hanover Police began arresting all underage drinkers admitted to the hospital, it was several steps in the wrong direction. The revised policy is one step back in the right direction. It attempts to ensure the safety of first-time offenders, while maintaining disincentives for repeat offenders. However, in deciding whether to make a Good Samaritan call, students should not base this decision on whether or not that person has been Good Sam'ed before in many cases, this may be unknown. Thus, the Hanover Police should continue to search for the right balance between ensuring student safety and creating disincentives for students to drink in excess repeatedly.Andrew Clay '12