EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

December 9, 2012

Dartmouth praises new hazing policy


“It allows an organization that has recently engaged in hazing to come forward, fall on its sword if you will, and then start over,” Johnson said of the “fresh start” program.

The walk-through policy did face some pushback by students, said Harry Kinne, director of Safety and Security, but most have come around.

“The anticipation was worse than the actual walk-throughs,” he said. “We have heard from a number of organizations that it was not as bad or draconian as they thought it would be.”

Security officers have developed a schedule to ensure each house and residence hall is checked the same number of times each month. Officers ask a house member to accompany them on a tour of public areas — living rooms, kitchens, etc. — with each sweep taking about 15 minutes. They’ve found some minor infractions so far — houses holding parties that weren’t registered with the college — but for the most part, students are operating within school rules, Kinne said.

“We’ve been doing them now for a couple of months, and we’re very happy with the results,” he said.

Essey, a senior, said students are taking the walk-throughs seriously.

“They knew changes were coming and this is one of them,” she said. “We want students to be safe, and no one wants to get in trouble.”

More controversial has been the plan to require that alcohol only be served by licensed caterers or bartenders. Essey said fraternities and sororities are concerned about the cost and having to increase their dues to unaffordable levels.

“We want the Greek system to remain open,” she said.

Most of the policy changes match what happens on other Ivy League colleges, Johnson said. But Dartmouth is breaking new ground with its plans to expand its so-called “bystander” program to include hazing. Bystander programs typically focus on training students to speak up when they witness sexual assault, but Dartmouth plans to incorporate hazing as well, she said.

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