MADISON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Dartmouth College is making a bold move to combat binge drinking and sex assaults on campus by banning all hard liquor, beginning this spring. But is that the right approach?
“In reality, I think even though you ban it, people will find a way to get it and it’s going to be a more dangerous situation because they’ll be going out of their way to hide it,” Fairleigh Dickinson University freshman Natalia Semenova told CBS2’s Christine Sloan.
“Not having liquor on campus sends them off campus. Unfortunately what happens off campus they bring back to campus,” Pam Messina said, a mother of college students.
The response surprised Sloan. But at FDU’s Madison campus, they try to prevent binge drinking through education.
“If you ban alcohol, it goes underground,” FDU-Madison Provost Peter Woolley said.
Like many New Jersey campuses, those 21 years and older can have alcohol in their doors at FDU.
Interim Assistant Dean Of Students Jennifer Dize hears all alcohol-related cases and said underage students tend to abuse alcohol more than their older peers.
“Tend to come from students who don’t know their limits around alcohol and they don’t understand things like mixing different types of alcohol,” Dize said.
At FDU, all freshmen are required to complete an online alcohol prevention course that stresses the importance of speaking up if a fellow student is in trouble. They also put on fun events to educate students.
“What we call ‘mock-tail parties,’ so there would be cocktails without alcohol and they might have a Skittle in it and that would mean you have been roofied,” Dize said. “I don’t know that prohibiting hard alcohol is going to keep students from consuming it as much as it’s going to limit the conversations that I can have around it.”
As Sloan reported, it seems to be working—alcohol incidents are down and FDU students seem to be listening.
“If you’re drinking liquor, drinking alcohol and you’re taking too much in, making mistakes through that, it’s not the alcohol, it’s you,” FDU sophomore Alec Gilarde said.
This isn’t the only campus stressing education, Sloan reported. Montclair State has a program called “Bystander Intervention” and Princeton University educates its students in the first year on being responsible with alcohol.