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Stanford university missing the point with alcohol policy

By Scott Tibbs, September 2, 2016

Why is Stanford University siding with and providing cover for violent rapists? Why is Stanford abandoning women in order to provide convenient excuses for sexual predators who refuse to take responsibility for their behavior?

The opening paragraph of this post is hyperbole, but there is some truth to what I am saying here. Stanford's new alcohol policy is incredibly tone-deaf and is missing the point regarding sexual violence on campus. Worse yet, Stanford is implementing this alcohol policy on the heels of national outrage about an athlete saying that the campus drinking culture is what is to blame for him taking an unconscious woman behind a dumpster and violently raping her.

It's always someone else's fault, isn't it? Never mind that scores of college-age men get drunk and never commit rape. This is because alcohol does not cause rape. It can be used as a weapon, just as "roofies" are used as a weapon to make women vulnerable to abuse. Alcohol may impair judgment, but it does not force a man to penetrate an unconscious woman against her will or hold a woman down and violate her while she is begging him to stop. Rapists are moral agents who are responsible for their actions.

Stanford's policy is not necessarily a bad policy, because there are serious problems surrounding drinking culture. However, it does present problems and could even create new ones. One problem is that heavy drinking will move to private residences where there is no university supervision and students are more likely to engage in "pre-gaming" by getting wasted before they even go to a party. If prohibition drives drinking underground, it could make things less safe.

Implementing this policy now, though, sends a terrible message to rape survivors and to irresponsible "men" who now (intentionally or not) have an opportunity to point to university policy as "evidence" that their own responsibility for their crimes is at least minimized of not excused entirely. Even if one agrees with this policy, directly connecting it to rape was incredibly foolish. It also raises the disturbing specter of university administrators covering for violent criminals and thugs if they happen to be athletes - something we have seen elsewhere. Stanford shot itself in the foot with this policy, which was clearly not well thought out.