Stanford Bans (Some) Alcohol at On-Campus Parties

25 August 2016

Shortly after a high-profile sexual assault on its campus, in which convicted offender and former university swimmer Brock Turner was given what many are calling a “slap on the wrist”, Stanford University has announced tighter restrictions on student drinking in its newly updated alcohol policy. The revisions have come under fire from critics that say it simply won’t do enough to prevent excessive student alcohol consumption and the life-changing incidents that it often yields, such as rape and other forms of assault. The University announced the policy on Monday and has made it effective immediately for the entire student body.

Under the new policy, the university has banned “high-volume” distilled liquor containers in undergraduate housing and consumption of hard alcohol at parties, except for those hosted by student organizations or parties taking place at graduate student housing. Even then, only mixed drinks are allowed. 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.

Many are asking why the university just doesn’t ban hard alcohol outright; a question to which Stanford responded its website, saying their primary goal is to reduce the risk associated with rapid consumption of hard alcohol. They say the policy will also allow them to “provide uniformity in a policy that will impact all undergraduate students without banning a substance that is legal for a segment of the student population to use responsibly.”

At the core of the policy updates are the specified amount restrictions, which now limit containers to under 750 ml. The university argues that limiting container sizes is a harm-reduction tool that will curtail the amount of high-volume alcohol consumption due to decreased availability. The new policy was developed based on conversations between Stanford’s administration, student body and faculty. The university has stressed that alcohol availability only applies to students 21 years of age and older.