STANFORD -- Stanford University's move to ban hard liquor on campus has drawn criticism from many who see it as proof of the school's alleged bias in the Brock Turner sexual assault case.
However, the university denies the accusations and stated that the changes have been proposed for the improvement of campus life. Drinks that are more than 20 percent proof will no longer be allowed to be served at campus parties. The amount of alcohol kept by students in their dormitories also will be monitored and restricted. However, Stanford will still permit the consumption of beer and wine on the premises.
While the university made no mention of the sexual assault case against Turner, the public connected the policy adjustment to the high-profile issue. In his testimony before the court, the defendant blamed the culture of binge drinking and partying at Stanford for his actions. Turner was convicted of both sexual assault and attempted rape. Two months after his conviction, the university released the changes made in their student alcohol policy.
Amidst speculations that the move was made to seemingly protect students like Turner, school officials point out other factors. Ralph Castro, director of Stanford's office of alcohol policy and education, released a statement noting that the consumption of hard alcohol on campus has presented an alarming risk to the administration. Stanford aimed to make the campus a safe space while also keeping some of the luxuries for the students to enjoy, Castro said in a statement.
“Our focus is on the high risk of the rapid consumption of hard alcohol. Our intention is not a total prohibition of a substance, but rather a targeted approach that limits high-risk behavior and has the backing of empirical studies on restricting the availability of and access to alcohol,” said Castro via the Stanford News.
“It also allows us the ability 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," he said. "Finally, we want to sustain our partnership with students so we can be successful in our efforts while still being able to foster community and build on our living/learning educational approach in the residences.”
Stanford News also shared a portion of the letter sent by Greg Boardman, the vice provost for student affairs at the university, to the new and returning undergraduates in relation to the policy change. He urged the students to follow the modified rules and to be more open minded with the changes. Boardman shared the necessity for cooperation among students and faculty in an effort to create a safe and fun atmosphere at Stanford.
“When considering a policy, one can look at it through multiple lenses. I challenge you not to focus on the policy as something to be worked around. Instead, I ask you to bring your best selves to this endeavor, to consider the real concerns raised by your fellow students, and those articulated here, and to be a part of solving this problem,” Boardman wrote in his letter. “We must create a campus community that allows for alcohol to be a part of the social lives of some of our students, but not to define the social and communal lives of all of our students.”