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HANOVER, N.H. — Dartmouth College students are prohibited from drinking hard alcohol on campus and required to learn about sexual violence prevention each year under reforms announced Thursday by the school's president. President Philip Hanlon, who has led the Ivy League school since mid-2013, created a "Moving Dartmouth Forward" steering committee last April to study problems he said were "hijacking" its promise: high-risk drinking, sexual assault and a lack of inclusion.
The plan he outlined Thursday includes banning hard alcohol for students on campus; implementing a mandatory, four-year sexual violence prevention program; ending pledge or probationary periods for all student groups; and creating new residential communities. "Our aspirations will never be realized if we fail to address a vital component: the environment in which our students live and learn," he said in a speech to students, faculty and staff. "We must recognize a moment in time when change is necessary in order to reach our potential, and now is such a moment."
Sexual assault on college campuses has been in the spotlight as students and the federal government demand stricter policies and stronger enforcement. Dartmouth recently overhauled its policies to include harsher sanctions and a trained external expert to investigate allegations. It will expand on that work with the new mandatory program, an online "consent manual" to reduce ambiguity about acceptable behavior and a smartphone app to allow students to easily seek help if they feel threatened, Hanlon said.