Student Drinking in Spotlight as Dartmouth Starts Year with New President

Dartmouth College is starting the school year with a new president, as the Ivy League school faces troublesome questions about binge drinking and other issues, The New York Times reports.

The Princeton Review’s guide to colleges lists Dartmouth as #16 in the “lots of beer” category. Fraternity parties and “beer pong” have long been linked with the school, the article notes. About two-thirds of undergraduates at the college, located in Hanover, New Hampshire, join a fraternity or sorority—almost double the rate of any other Ivy League school.

The former Dartmouth President, Jim Yong Kim, founded the National College Health Improvement Program, a group of colleges working together to reduce binge drinking. Under his presidency, Dartmouth designated students who remain sober at parties and help people who are drunk, counseling them to go to the health center for alcohol-related reasons.

The new president, Philip J. Hanlon, who came from the University of Michigan, said the school has seen positive results from these efforts. There was a drop in the number of times ambulances were called for students with high blood-alcohol levels, from 80 in 2010-11, to 31 last year.

Last June, the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of serving alcohol to under-age people. The fraternity agreed to pay a fine, perform community service, and submit to court-imposed restrictions on its parties and use of alcohol.

In an interview, Hanlon told the newspaper there is no evidence that drinking is worse at Dartmouth than at similar schools. “We know Dartmouth is not perfect,” he said. “We want to make it better.”

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