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Why Stanford bans hard liquor on campus
Statistics don't lie about link between alcohol and campus rape, but some still challenge the approach and the linkage. - photo by Eric Schulzke
Stanford University has announced a new policy cracking down on booze on campus, NPR reports. Hard liquor will now be banned from most campus parties, while beer and wine are still allowed. And hard liquor possessed privately in dorms must be in very small bottles.

The policy may not turn Stanford into a stone cold sober campus, but it does signal an incremental awareness that binge drinking results in high risk behavior.

The move comes in the wake of a campus rape case that captured national attention. Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was convicted of raping a female student who was passed out drunk, but he only received six months in jail for his crime.

Alcohol abuse has an undisputed link to campus sexual assaults. Using federal statistics, EdSmart recently calculated that "party schools" suffer 600 percent more on-campus sexual assault incidents than do "stone cold sober" schools.

"A 2007 study on campus rape for the U.S. Department of Justice found 82 percent of victims of campus rape reported being too intoxicated to give or withhold their consent," the Deseret News reported earlier this summer. "Last year, the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that 15 percent of female students at one unnamed private college said they had been sexually attacked while incapacitated by drugs or alcohol while they were freshmen."

But despite these statistics, critics have already responded to the new Stanford policy with skepticism.

"Stanford's alcohol ban doesn't change rape culture," argues Pauline Campos on Time's Motto blog. "Rape cannot be blamed on alcohol," Campos argues. "Rape is always and only the fault of the rapist. Smaller bottles of alcohol are not automatically going to result in fewer sexual assaults. Instead Stanford should be focusing on the real solution: teaching men what consent means."

Meanwhile, Washington, D.C., attorney Douglas Fierberg, a specialist in fraternity hazing, deaths and injuries, sees the Stanford policy as an insufficient token effort to rein in abuses at the Greek fraternities, which are considered on-campus housing.

While this policy goes a long way to prohibit certain quantities of alcohol in housing, the Greek community is still not supervised like all other Stanford housing, Fierberg told USA Today. So the idea that increased restrictions (are) going to solve the problem in the Greek community will never be better than its means of implementation. That same assumption has failed thousands of times across the country.
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