“Let’s just take a few shots and go out,” is commonly said on weekend nights. Drinking hard alcohol is the cheapest and quickest way to get drunk. It generally doesn’t taste good, and it isn’t the safest way to consume alcohol, but that’s what college kids do.
A few months ago Dartmouth College banned the possession of hard alcohol on campus. No student, regardless if they are 21 or over, can own or consume hard alcohol in any dorm, building, or house (including Greek houses). According to Dartmouth’s student newspaper, their President enacted this policy in order to “create a safer community that supports the academic mission of the College and the students’ success.” The Interim Dean said, “Your Dartmouth experience doesn’t have to include hard alcohol.”
Sure, that’s true. No one’s experience anywhere has to include anything. However the fact is, many college kids’ experience does include hard alcohol. Banning it is not addressing the problem surrounding the culture of hard alcohol; rather it is shoving the problem under the bed and pretending it’s gone.
I have heard rumors that Carleton is considering creating a similar policy. I hope that the administration does not create a policy like Dartmouth’s, not because I want to continue to drink shitty hard liquor, but because I think it is a dangerous policy.
Banning hard alcohol will not stop students from consuming it. Students will continue drinking it (unless it is not sold in liquor stores, but that seems unlikely) and they will do so in secret. We might drink faster than we already do, so as to reduce the likelihood of getting caught. Or, we might not call for help if a friend drank too much because we would be afraid of getting in trouble for consuming hard alcohol.
Although Carleton is working on revising its drug and alcohol policy, as far as I know, we do not have a campus Good Samaritan rule. Although Security is wonderful and not out to get us in trouble, if there was a ban against hard alcohol, would it be more likely for us to get in trouble when calling for help for a friend?
Instead of taking steps to ban hard alcohol, the administration should continue investing money into alcohol education in order to foster an open dialogue. They should also consider why students turn to hard alcohol over other, perhaps safer drinks. The nature of our fast paced life— moving from event to event, fearing the possibility of missing out on something (FOMO), and trying to cram in school and fun into our packed schedules—fits nicely with the quick-effects of hard alcohol.
Perhaps, in order to combat dangerous hard alcohol drinking habits, the Administration, and students must also address the stressful, fast-paced nature of our college existence.