Alcohol Bans and Sexual Assault

Stanford University recently announced a new school policy banning large containers of hard alcohol from undergraduate housing and events.

Specifically, the new policy bans containers 750 mL and larger of distilled liquor, spirits and hard alcohol -- a standard-size bottle of vodka or whiskey -- for all undergraduates on campus, including students who are over 21.

The new policy was announced in Inside Higher Ed .

In a statement, Stanford noted that “policy is aimed at reducing the availability and accessibility of hard alcohol and the high-risk behaviors that can accompany heavy drinking, including those that might lead to sexual assault.”

According to reports, victims’ advocates argue that the policy -- which comes after the university was the site of a high-profile rape case in which alcohol was consumed -- puts the onus on victims to avoid drinking rather than on would-be attackers to not assault.

According to a 2001 survey conducted as part of Harvard University’s College Alcohol Study, students at colleges with complete drinking bans are 30 percent less likely to be “heavy episodic drinkers” and more likely to abstain from alcohol. Among students who still drink, however, heavy drinking is just as common as among their counterparts at colleges without alcohol bans.

Dartmouth College similarly banned hard alcohol last year. A recent survey conducted by the student newspaper, the Dartmouth, found that 85 percent of the 1,745 students who responded said they had consumed hard alcohol since the ban went into effect.