The New Rules of Sex and Booze

Robin Wilson in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

AlcoholIt was a typical Saturday night at the house on Park Street where the Union College men’s hockey team goes after games to unwind and party. Sébastien Gingras, a 6-foot-1 defenseman, noticed a classmate hovering around a young woman who looked unsteady. Mr. Gingras watched them. “She was a freshman, and this was a guy from outside the team who had the reputation of trying to get girls when they were drunk,” he says. After a while, “the guy was sitting next to her on a couch, trying to get her to leave.” So Mr. Gingras, a junior, asked one of his teammates to call the guy over to distract him while Mr. Gingras checked the young woman’s ID and walked her back to her dorm. Hanging out, drinking, and hooking up are for many students just a part of life in college. They're also a common backdrop for sexual assault. As many as four in five campus assaults involve drinking, studies have found. Plenty of those cases hinge on whether a woman was drunk or incapacitated, and therefore unable to give consent. Messages about preventing sexual assault now come at students from many directions: campus and federal officials, the news media, their peers. And what students are hearing has started to influence their behavior. They’re paying more attention, and they’re looking out for one another.

That’s precisely what President Obama’s new campaign, “It’s On Us,” is asking them to do: “to intervene if we see someone in a risky situation.” Union College, with 2,250 undergraduates, enlisted its popular hockey team, which won last year’s Division I national championship, to sign the campaign’s pledge and encourage others to take seriously the goal of protecting students. People here think it’s working. “We’re hearing from more students concerned about what they are seeing or hearing,” says Amanda E. Tommell-Sandy, assistant director of the counseling center. “We are seeing more students sharing that they have intervened.”

More here.