Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon says Dartmouth “will take the lead” in dealing with issues “colleges and universities across the country face.”

As such, the school will be the first in the Ivy League to ban hard liquor on campus, and the first university outside of the military academies to mandate a four-year sexual violence prevention program.

The Associated Press reports (via US News & World Report):

The plan Hanlon presented Thursday was the product of the Moving Dartmouth Forward committee created in April to study problems the president said were “hijacking” the school’s promise: high-risk drinking, sexual assault and a lack of inclusion.

In addition to banning hard liquor starting with the new term at the end of March and implementing the sexual violence prevention program, the plan ends pledge or probationary periods for all student groups and creates new residential communities.

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 with the new mandatory program, an online “consent manual” on sexual behavior and a smartphone app to allow students to seek help if they feel threatened, Hanlon said.

On the alcohol front, Hanlon said education programs launched in the past few years have started to pay off, but the practice of “pregaming” — loading up on hard alcohol before heading out for the night — remains a problem.

And I’m sure that new ban will stop that!

Some had proposed an outright ban on fraternities and sororities, but the Moving Dartmouth Forward committee found no association between disorderly conduct and “the intensity of the Greek scene.”

But, don’t worry social justice warriors — Hanlon will keep the Greeks in line … by putting them under “annual reviews to ensure they are being inclusive and diversifying their membership”!

Read the full article.

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Kidnapping and sexual assault charges against five William Paterson University students have been dropped following a grand jury’s refusal to indict them.

The students have not been permitted back on campus since the allegations were made.

Defense attorneys blasted the school’s investigation, stating “it wasn’t thorough enough and did not include interviews with key witnesses.” reports:

A grand jury declined to indict the students, all of whom are 18 years old, after hearing the case on Monday, according to court officials and a defense attorney. The five men, who had been accused of taking part in the sexual assault of a woman in the Overlook South residence hall on Nov. 25, have not been allowed back to the school since shortly after the alleged incident. The woman’s identity has never been made public and her role in the investigation is unknown.

Ron Ricci, an attorney for one of the students, Jahmel Latimer of Hoboken, said the grand jury made its decision after a one-day presentation. He said defense attorneys had presented evidence to prosecutors that cleared their clients and that the prosecution had then “presented the case honestly” to grand jurors.

Ricci declined to discuss details of that evidence but said: “The facts demonstrated that this was not a sexual assault, and the actions of those young men were not in violation of the law. It clearly wasn’t a crime.”

University President Kathleen Waldron said shortly after the incident that she was “angry and dismayed that this crime was committed on our campus and allegedly by students.” She went on to refer to the incident as a “criminal act”.

“It was outrageous that these young men had to go through the publicity they had to go through,” Ricci said.

And President Waldron still isn’t certain, despite the non-indictment, whether the students will be allowed to come back to school: “… school officials ‘respect the decision reached through this legal process’ but … the university ‘has its own student conduct process that is independent of the state’s legal proceedings.’”

“That process, she said, ‘will continue.’”

Read the full article.

h/t to JLC.

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After a student at Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep school in Sacramento — a public charter school — gave a presentation on “Islamophobia,” school officials came up with a “brilliant” idea: Let’s have a “Hijab Day!”

The special event was organized with the assistance of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Students Association.

BizPac Review reports:

The watchdog group Jihad Watch received an image of a flier promoting the event from one of its readers. Part of it reads, “GIRLS! Come to the library Wednesday morning and MSA members will assist you in putting your hijab on.”

Jihad Watch obtained a copy of an email sent by a concerned citizen to school principal Tom Rutten.

In the email the citizen called “Hijab Day” a “classic example of religious indoctrination” and suggested that the backlash over a “Yarmulke Day” to promote Judaism would be “unimaginable.”

The citizen also pointed out that the Muslim Students Association has links to the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization.

Rather than responding directly, Rutten had the student who organized the event email the citizen.

“NP3 Hijab Day was part of my Senior Project, meant to bring awareness to my campus about the misconceptions surrounding Islam, particularly those surrounding the headscarf,” the student wrote. “I invited a speaker to talk to faculty about addressing Islamophobia in the classroom and the challenges in the Muslim world, and they appreciated the open and frank discussion.”

In the email the student does not ever deny the MSA’s links to the Muslim Brotherhood and twice calls any negative response to the event “irrational.”

Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch has put up three letters pertaining to the matter, one from a concerned parent, the school principal’s response, and a reply by Spencer himself.

The principal’s reply is mostly a forwarded response from the student who organized the event. In it the student notes that he created the presentation because we’re “[a]t a time when anti-Muslim sentiment is growing …”

To which Spencer points out that anti-Jewish hate crimes are much more numerous in the United States than those that are anti-Muslim. So, would the school be willing to host a “Yarmulke Day” at the school?

What about a “Wear a Cross Day?” he also queried.

Read the full BizPac Review article and Jihad Watch piece.

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Western Illinois University didn’t take kindly to a student journalist covering a brawl on its property Dec. 12 and then selling his video of the scuffle. It suspended him, and he must go through a student judicial hearing where he could face expulsion.

Now journalism groups are accusing the school of using a flimsy work-product pretext to clamp down on news it doesn’t like.

The Society of Professional Journalists said it’s the latest to contact the school on behalf of Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Stewart, following the Student Press Law Center and Illinois Broadcasters Association.

Stewart was using his own equipment and he had first posted breaking news on his own YouTube channel with the university’s blessing many times before, SPJ President Dana Neuts told WIU President Jack Thomas in a letter Thursday.

The university was on break and the school paper was on hiatus when the brawl happened:

Stewart should have been allowed to work as a freelancer during this time. The First Amendment gives him the right to
record a news event with his own equipment and post it or sell it as a freelance journalist. …

He should be celebrated for seeing a breaking news story and covering it. He should be commended for taking the initiative to do journalism. It would have actually been unethical for him, as a journalist, to see this breaking news story and not cover it and publish it via whatever means available.

It’s idiotic to call Stewart a “threat” because he may have used the university’s watermark in the video, and the university has no claim on the money Stewart earned for his video, Neuts says:

It sends the message that student journalists must now fear suspension for publishing news of which the university does not approve, and that the First Amendment is only looked upon favorably when it benefits the university.

Read the SPJ letter.

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Big win for religious freedom up north: The forces of secularism can’t punish law school graduates because their institution forbids premarital sex or sex outside of traditional marriage, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom.

The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia ruled Wednesday that the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society can’t deny accreditation to Trinity Western University’s law school – preventing grads from practicing as lawyers – over its “biblical beliefs on appropriate sexual behavior”:

This decision isn’t about whether LGBT equality rights are more or less important that the religious freedoms of Evangelical Christians. It’s not a value judgment in that sense at all. It is first about whether the NSBS had the authority to do what it did. It is also about whether, even if it had that authority, the NSBS reasonably considered the implications of its actions on the religious freedoms of TWU and its students in a way that was consistent with Canadian legal values of inclusiveness, pluralism and the respect for the rule of law. In that sense, it is a value judgment. I have concluded that the NSBS did not have the authority to do what it did. I have also concluded that even if it did have that authority it did not exercise it in a way that reasonably considered the concerns for religious freedom and liberty of conscience.

The barristers’ society had demanded that the law school change its policies on sexual activity and marital fidelity as a condition of accreditation. That’s bunk, Justice Jamie Campbell wrote:

For many people in a secular society religious freedom is worse than inconsequential. It actually gets in the way. It’s the dead hand of the superstitious past reaching out to restrain more important secular values like equality from becoming real equality. A more progressive society, on that view, would not permit any incursions by religion into public life or would at least limit those incursions to those by religions that have belief systems and practices that are more consonant with mainstream morality. The discomforting truth is that religions with views that many Canadians find incomprehensible or offensive abound in a liberal and multicultural society. The law protects them and must carve out a place not only where they can exist but flourish.

Read the alliance statement and court ruling.

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Stanford University received an email after the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day “Silicon Shutdown” protest threatening legal action due to the rally shutting down traffic on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge.

The email apparently is from the attorney of a family whose 3-year-old girl was in “medical distress” and was en route to the hospital when it encountered the protesters, who were blocking their path.

The Stanford Daily reports:

At publication time, the University had not been served with any such lawsuit.

University spokeswoman Lisa Lapin wrote in an email to The Daily that the University had also received other complaints from motorists and the general public regarding the protest.

“The protest was not a University sanctioned event, and the Silicon Shutdown group is not a University organization or recognized student group,” Lapin wrote. “The case of the Silicon Shutdown participants is a matter being investigated and prosecuted by the CHP and the San Mateo County District Attorney.”

The ASSU [Associated Students of Stanford University] stated that it has also not been served with any such lawsuit.

“[T]he ASSU is not currently facing any litigation at the moment,” wrote Frederik Groce ’14, the ASSU Financial Manager, in an email to The Daily.

A petition circulated around campus recently in support of the Silicon Shutdown protesters who had previously been arrested on misdemeanor charges the day of the protest.

The Silicon Shutdown protesters claim they were not responsible for circulating that petition.

Read the full story.

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