Stanford Alcohol Ban Isn’t the Answer to the Crisis of Sexual Assault on Campus

BY IDA-ROSE CHABON staff writer

On August 22nd, in an effort to combat binge drinking and sexual assault, Stanford University enforced a new rule surrounding hard alcohol.

The rule states that only 750 milliliters (a “fifth”) of alcohol is allowed on campus and in dorms, no hard alcohol is allowed at undergraduate parties, and no shots are allowed at graduate parties. Stanford started enforcing this rule only days after the infamous Brock Turner was released from prison.

Turner, a Stanford student and active member of the swim team, was discovered raping an unconscious girl behind a dumpster in January of 2015.

Turner only received six months in prison  but was released after three for “good behavior”.

Here is one of  my main problems with the ban. In the email sent out to the students explaining the new rules, sexual assault was not explicitly named as one of the reasons for the ban. This is a complete disregard for one of the most prominent problems on college campuses, especially surrounding alcohol. Seeing as this rule came out mere days after Brock Turner’s release, it is only appropriate to acknowledge sexual assault in some way.  

The Brock Turner case is a clear example of the connections between alcohol and rape on campus. Alcohol and sexual assault mix on college campuses quite a bit and this policy does nothing to curtail that deadly mix. Instead of offering a safe, harm-reducing approach to binge drinking, a fear inducing and unsafe “solution” was given by the administration. Of course, many students are outraged. Even though 91 percent of the student body  voted against the ban according to the Stanford Daily, the university went ahead with it. Ralph Castro, the Director of the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education responded by saying, “We’re not necessarily looking at popularity, but rather functionality.”

The new ban will create a situation where students will be too scared to go to a resident assistant as they did before when a friend was puking.

Now they may just tuck their friend into bed, or dump the person in a hospital parking lot. We’ll likely see more students die from alcohol poisoning due to this new rule. There is a much better way to combat both sexual assault and binge drinking. Instead of creating  rules that will make students hide what they are doing or do it in a much less safe way, classes should be offered on both sexual assault prevention and safe drinking.

If someone is struggling with a drinking problem, the student should learn exactly how much alcohol he or she can handle, what to do if someone has alcohol poisoning, and how to be safe while partying.

Unfortunately, Stanford students must hide their drinking and partying from administration. Because of this, there is less supervision of the Stanford part scene, making the campus much less safe for everyone.

Although many colleges are moving forward with the push for safety on their campuses, they are going about it in the wrong ways. Until rape and sexual assault are acknowledged in every way and combated correctly, campuses will not be truly safe.