Stanford Bans Hard Alcohol for Undergraduates on Campus

(Photo: Pixabay, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Pixabay, Creative Commons)

Stanford University has announced a ban on hard alcohol from any undergraduate parties and shots from graduate school parties in an effort to reduce binge drinking on campus.

University officials noted that the move was done as a preventative measure against violence, vandalism, and other consequences related to binge drinking.

“The University does not tolerate reckless drinking — lawful or unlawful — and its consequent harmful behaviors,” according to the updated student alcohol policy. “The University is especially concerned about the misuse of distilled alcohol products (“hard alcohol”), and the dangers that arise from that misuse.”

Former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was recently sentenced to six months in jail for his role in the sexual assault of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on the campus.  Turner claimed his actions were the result of “party culture and risk-taking behavior.”

In a letter sent to Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, Turner said he had not attended a party where alcohol was present before enrolling in Stanford.  He said that once he began his college career, he turned to drinking to handle the stress of school and swimming.

“The swim team set no limits on partying or drinking and I saw the guys take full advantage of these circumstances, while I was shown to do the same,” he wrote.

However, documents later released by the Santa Clara County Superior Court suggested that Turner had a long history with alcohol that pre-dated his college years.  In addition, they stated that Turner had made unwanted sexual advances on women in the past, writes Rosanna Xia for The Los Angeles Times.

University officials met with students earlier in the year to ask their opinion on how to best handle the drinking culture on campus as well as the pressures felt by students to drink.

An email written this week to students by Greg Boardman, vice provost for student affairs noted the reasons students had discussed why they felt the need to drink alcohol.  These reasons included handling social anxiety, and feelings of alienation as a result of friends drinking, which can sometimes be deep enough that students do not feel comfortable in their own house, reports Madison Park for CNN.

The updated alcohol policy at the school will continue to allow beer and wine at on-campus undergraduate parties, but will place limits on hard alcohol.  Considered to be anything over 40 proof, or 20% alcohol by volume, hard liquor will be allowed on campus as long as it comes in bottles less than 750 milliliters.  This rule applies for undergraduate dorm rooms, common spaces, and public spaces on campus, such as athletic facilities or dining halls.  All alcohol must be stored and contained in the original bottle it was was purchased in.

Straight shots of hard alcohol will be banned from all parties.

While punishments for violating the new policy will vary depending on the circumstances, students could be sent to mandatory alcohol education seminars or referred to counselors for treatment.  Any continual behavior could cause students to be removed from student housing or additional disciplinary measures, reports Greg Toppo for USA Today.

The ban is expected to be met with displeasure from students.  A referendum this spring resulted in 91% voting against the alcohol ban and close to 1,720 people signing a petition against the proposal.