University News

This Week in Higher Ed: Feb. 3, 2015

University News Editor
Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Dartmouth cracks down on hard liquor, fraternities’ role in party culture

Dartmouth banned student possession of any alcoholic beverage stronger than 30 proof Thursday, the New York Times reported. The ban was one of several new measures intended to curb the dangers of Dartmouth’s party culture, which has long been tied to an influential Greek scene characterized by controversy over the last few years, the Times reported.

But Greek organizations at Dartmouth, while still a presence on campus, are likely to face greater scrutiny in years to come.

Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon warned that any campus organizations that do not comply with the college’s new regulations “will not be a part of (Dartmouth’s) community,” the Dartmouth reported Friday.

Chet Brown, president of the college’s chapter of Beta Alpha Omega, told The Dartmouth he was “relieved” that the administration chose not to banish Greek life entirely, adding that a ban on hard alcohol is preferable to the elimination of Greek organizations.

University of Virginia sorority members discouraged from attending fraternity parties

Leaders of national sororities wrote to chapter presidents at the University of Virginia Jan. 20 to request that UVA sorority members not attend fraternity parties held at the conclusion of the fraternity recruitment period, the Huffington Post reported Thursday. Despite widespread backlash against the suggestion, the national organizations did not budge on their stance, the Huffington Post reported.

The request sparked outrage among many UVA students, prompting some to respond in columns in the Cavalier Daily. One columnist wrote last Tuesday that the directive invoked the “archaic safety ‘logic’” that women should avoid going to parties entirely if they do not want to be sexually assaulted.

UVA President Teresa Sullivan wrote to students Thursday that the university’s administration played no role in the request, adding that she does not support the singling-out of UVA Greek life participants by the national organizations, the Cavalier Daily reported.

But the 16 sorority chapters’ national affiliates affirmed last week that they would stick to a National Panhellenic Policy dissuading sorority members from taking part in “Bid Night” events on college campuses, the Huffington Post reported. In past years, the limit on participation meant not advertising on behalf of fraternity events, but this year national leadership made the regulation stricter for UVA students.

Virginia legislature considers sexual assault reform bill

A bill working its way through the Virginia legislature would, if passed, compel universities to relate student reports of sexual assault to law enforcement officials within a day of the report’s filing, the Washington Post reported last Tuesday.

The legislation could receive widespread support from the public, as nine out of 10 Virginians believe sexual assault “should be reported to the police immediately.” But administrators from colleges in the state were more ambiguous in their responses to the Post’s requests for comment on the bill.

A spokesperson for the College of William and Mary warned of possible “unintended consequences” of the legislation, which could discourage survivors unwilling to embark on the legal process from filing reports of sexual assault at all, the Post reported. A representative of George Mason University spoke out more unequivocally against the bill, saying she does not believe “the current legislation is the solution” to the problem of sexual assault on college campuses.

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