In the wake of the high-profile sexual assault conviction of Brock Turner this summer, Stanford University stiffened its alcohol policy this week and barred hard alcohol for undergraduates on campus in an effort to “reduce [its] availability and accessibility.” While not explicitly a reaction to the trial of the former swimmer, it seems clear the university is responding, in part, to the blowback the administration faced during the trial. Turner tried to shift blame for his sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster to the drinking and “party culture” on campus. “I’ve been shattered by the party culture and risk taking behavior that I briefly experienced in my four months at school,” Turner said in a statement during the trial.
Here are more specifics of the new ban:
Stanford University has updated its student alcohol policy to prohibit high-volume distilled liquor containers for all undergraduate and coterminal students living in undergraduate housing. It also prohibits hard alcohol at all categories of on-campus parties, with the exception of parties hosted by student organizations and residences whose membership is 100 percent graduate students. That exemption applies to alcohol in the form of mixed drinks. Straight shots of hard alcohol are never allowed at any party. Beer and wine are the only alcoholic beverages that can be present at all on-campus undergraduate student parties.
The policy update, which goes beyond state law requirements, prohibits containers 750 mL and larger of distilled liquor, spirits and hard alcohol (alcohol by volume 20 percent and above or 40 proof) in undergraduate student residences, including rooms and common spaces. The beverages that are allowed under this policy for individuals 21 and older must have been purchased from a licensed establishment and must be contained and stored in their original containers.
The move is sure to be unpopular with Stanford students returning to campus for the fall semester. More than 91 percent of students voted against the ban in a campuswide referendum last spring, according to the Stanford Daily. The move has also been called out as beside the point when it comes to combating sexual violence on campus.
Whether or not banning hard alcohol is effective, Stanford is not the first to try to regulate alcohol consumption, particularly liquor, on campus. According to NPR News, Bowdoin, Bates, Colby, and Notre Dame have all had similar bans in place for years and Dartmouth and the University of Virginia both implemented similarly restrictive measures following high-profile sexual assault cases.