Politics & Policy

‘Homey’ Dorm Decor and 13 Other Ideas Dartmouth Students Have for Decreasing Sex Assault

The key to responsible drinking is a safe and respectful environment. (Photo: Old School)
Other ideas include more kegs and ping-pong tables.

A student group at the Ivy League’s Dartmouth University called “Improve Dartmouth: On the Ground” has submitted a list of students’ ideas for how to “reduce high-risk drinking, sexual assault, and exclusivity on campus.” A sampling of their more bizarre ideas:

1. “Incorporate more wood into living spaces”

“It’s a small detail,” the report admits, “but wood interior design makes for a much more comforting and homey environment that would inspire residents to treat their space with more respect and spend more time in their resident halls in a relaxed way that prevents high-risk behavior.”

2. Encourage parties to have kegs

Keg parties would decrease binge drinking because “you have to physically pump the beer” and therefore can’t get drunk as fast.

3. “De-stigmatize beer”

It was not explained how anyone could ever think beer was stigmatized on a college campus.

4. Create “gender-neutral” places to drink on campus where “all students feel comfortable drinking”

“To reduce high-risk drinking, the College should make more spaces available for students to socialize/pre-game.” Because apparently somehow making it more comfortable for students to drink will make them drink less?

5. Let underage kids drink, and also create specific places where they can drink together

But like, don’t worry, because they wouldn’t be allowed to get “overly drunk.”

6. Video surveillance in every single fraternity basement


7. Have the college buy the booze for frat parties

It is “too much pressure” for Greek houses to buy their own alcohol, apparently,, and “if Dartmouth really wants to control the amount of alcohol i.e. kegs in the basements, then the college should pay for alcohol.” One might wonder if students will just bring their own extra alcohol if they’d like to drink more than the college provides . . .

8. Hire “interior designer/psychologists” to redesign the dorms and make them “safe/good”

What are “interior designer/psychologists” anyway?

#page#9. Big-screen TVs and ping-pong tables in dorms

Big TVs, ping-pong tables and foosball tables, of course, would go “a long way” in stopping sexual assault and high-risk drinking, because then students would finally have other stuff to do besides sexual assault and high-risk drinking.

10. Make the “freshman party scene start earlier”

Freshmen aren’t allowed to go out to most parties until 11 p.m. and apparently this can cause freshmen to “stay out very late, which is unhealthy.”

11. Have Undergraduate Assistants monitoring the halls late at night to “monitor drunk couples who are going to hook up” and assess them for consent.

That’s not creepy or intrusive.

12. Have the school’s Collis Cafe sell beer

The idea: put beer in the school cafe so that freshmen can “see seniors drinking 1 beer on a sunny afternoon” and then realize not all drinking has to be binge drinking. This idea does not seem to address the fact that some seniors may choose to have more than one beer.

13. Mandatory courses and classes

Five different mandatory classes were suggested — including one on women and gender, one on privilege, and one on sexual assault.

14. More bars and “bar culture”

“Having more of a bar culture would help people to drink less excessively. . . . Having to pay for alcohol might inherently cause people to buy less drinks,” the group explains. Definitely.

On Wednesday, the group submitted these and hundreds of other suggestions from a total of 560 students to the Presidential Steering Committee for Moving Dartmouth Forward, a committee appointed by the college president, Philip Hanlon, to gather ideas. He has promised to consider them all.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.

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