Dartmouth president: It's time for 'extreme behavior' to change
- Dartmouth College President Philip J. Hanlon addressed the campus community Wednesday night, calling for an end to "extreme behavior, masked by its perpetrators as acceptable fun."
- Hanlon told students, faculty, staff, and alumni that the Ivy League school's promise was being "hijacked" by activities including sexual assaults, dangerous drinking, hazing, parties with racist and sexist undertones, vulgar insults and threats made online, and an exclusionary social scene.
- He also announced the formation of a Presidential Steering Committee that will make recommendations to curb high-risk drinking, sexual assaults, and inclusivity on the 245-year-old campus, which currently faces a 14% application decline and a federal Title IX investigation.
Hanlon's Presidential Steering Committee isn't the first move by Dartmouth to address its problems with extreme behavior. His speech also touted efforts taken in the last year to address sexual assault — last summer's Bystander Initiative, the February formation of the Center for Community Action and Prevention, and a zero-tolerance disciplinary policy — as well as measures that led to a 60% decline in incidents involving students with dangerous blood-alcohol levels.
As the basis for the college from "National Lampoon's Animal House," Dartmouth has perhaps always had a bit of a reputation, but events reported in recent years have been far removed from simply being known as a party school. An advocacy group has even launched an ad campaign drawing attention to what it calls Dartmouth's "rape problem." Still, Dartmouth isn't the only higher education institution facing these issues, or even the only member of the Ivy League with these problems. Yale, Harvard, Columbia, UC Berkeley, UConn, UNC, Occidental, and Swarthmore have also had their own problems on the Title IX front. Perhaps it's time to look at the bigger picture and have higher ed change its culture as a whole.
Follow Roger Riddell on Twitter