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Letter: Steps Dartmouth Should Take

To the Editor:

In reference to Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon’s message to students, faculty and staff March 24:

I appreciate the intent of forming committees and seeking community members’ input, but unfortunately believe that the time has passed “to start discussion about what are acceptable social norms.” I would argue that it is now time for the administration to step up and implement changes on campus, where I am a graduate student.

Accordingly, in the spirit of positivity, here are a few ideas that might improve the campus climate:

∎ Introduce a mandatory series of workshop discussions on what constitutes harassment (sexual or otherwise) for all students and staff (yes, faculty, too) akin to the professional ethics courses required of graduate students to be considered degree-worthy.

∎ Publish and post the college’s student honor code and behavioral expectations for our community at the beginning of every term campus-wide. Include a concise statement describing the consequences for noncompliance in special issues of The Dartmouth and other outlets.

∎ Go dry. Make Dartmouth alcohol-free. Serve no alcohol at college-sponsored events. Permit none at fraternities.

∎ Enforce New Hampshire law: Turn those found purchasing, serving, possessing and/or consuming alcohol under the age of 21 over to local law officers immediately.

∎ Hold policy violators accountable for their actions. Notify their parents and guardians. Remove violators from teams. Dismiss them from work-study positions. Revoke their financial aid. Eject them from campus housing. Suspend or expel them.

∎ Inform fraternities and sororities of these policy changes. Close any that are unable or unwilling to comply.

∎ Invest in lighting for the green and the installation of motion detector-activated lights and cameras at all building entry and exit doors. Provide after-hours and weekend (if not 24/7) security at all dorms and insist that campus security personnel maintain a much higher patrol profile, particularly in party zones.

I remain hopeful that President Hanlon and the trustees will stop talking soon and agree to act. Implementing a zero-tolerance policy toward illegal and unsafe behavior on our campus would seem to be a very productive place to start.

Liza Draper