Higher Ed’s Super Bowl Dilemma: Go to Game or Pay for Dartmouth?

Updated Feb 2, 2015

As I write, the priciest Super Bowl ticket on StubHub was going for $51,755.25.

Bottom right corner, on the goal line, Seattle side. 2 tickets @ $51,755.25, EACH.

That’s a bit more than the $48,108 a year tuition will cost you at Dartmouth this year.

So let’s see: four quarters of championship football vs. four quarters at Ivy League Dartmouth?

And just to make the choice even more difficult, in terms of sheer alcohol consumption (for some, the point of football), there’s really no comparison.

There’s an absolute guarantee you’d consume vast quantities of alcohol during your four quarters at Dartmouth than you would at a single Super Bowl game.

On an ounce per dollar basis, that’s called value!

Thank goodness, that won’t be true by the end of March.

Haven’t heard? Dartmouth is finally stepping up. When Philip J. Hanlon, president of Dartmouth, spoke last week on the future of the college, he went right to the core of the all of higher ed’s societal ills.

He finally addressed the liquid elephant in the room.

By the end of March there will be a hard liquor ban of anything beyond 30 proof (15 percent) alcohol. That’s not just Jager shots. That’s some wines and beers too, sports fans.

From his prepared remarks, Hanlon was clear: “We do not need hard alcohol at Dartmouth. In fact, many students have suggested it shouldn’t be here. Beginning today, Dartmouth will take a lead among colleges in dealing with hard alcohol on campus. Hard alcohol will not be served at events open to the public — whether the event is sponsored by the college or by student organizations. Penalties for students found in possession of hard alcohol will ramp up. And so will penalties for those who purchase and provide any alcohol to minors.”

It’s stricter than the recent crackdown on drinking in Virginia. But it had to happen — because it gets to the real problem of sexual assault and rape that is plaguing our nation’s campuses.

From the allegations against Jameis Winston, to the recent Vanderbilt rape convictions, to the arrest of a Stanford swimmer on sexual assault charges, alcohol nearly always plays some role.

And yet there’s been a real reluctance to address the issue.

In conjunction, Dartmouth will also institute a sexual violence prevention program that will be mandatory for students.

That may help, especially if they’re all sober.

From Hanlon’s statement: “The evidence is clear: hard alcohol is posing a serious threat to the health and safety of our campus. … The vision is a campus where students are free of extreme behaviors … where sexual assault and high-risk drinking are eradicated from our campus.”

Hanlon simply did what all good leaders must do in higher ed: connect the big dots between alcohol and sexual assault, and fight them together.

Let’s see if it starts a trend.

In the meantime, I wouldn’t bet against Big Green binge drinkers going crazy until that last drink in March and the crackdown begins.

Emil Guillermo writes on issues of race, culture and politics for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (www.aaldef.org/blog). Like him at www.facebook.com/emilguillermo.media; Twitter @emilamok.