October 7, 2020 3 min read
Dartmouth College Case Study: Preventing Organizational Misconduct & Fostering Campus Safety
Dartmouth College is a private Ivy League university in Hanover, New Hampshire with approximately 4,500 undergraduate students. The university has a variety of student groups, including 34 varsity sports teams, 28 Greek chapters, and more than 160 student organizations.
Dartmouth College is committed to keeping its campus community safe. The university has clear health and safety policies, such as those regarding alcohol and hazing, and encourages students to report violations so that they can be addressed.
Although Dartmouth College has clear regulations in place, the administration became aware that students were concerned about the culture of student organizations. Notably, a 2018 op-ed in the Dartmouth Radical related campus sexual violence to hazing and indicated that there were violations taking place on campus that had not been addressed.
Reporting misconduct is particularly important on college campuses. While Greek Life and other organizations can provide students a sense of community, comradery, and purpose, recent events and tragedies on several U.S. campuses show that they can also lead to hazing, alcohol and drug abuse, and other medical safety issues.
It became clear to the Dartmouth College Office of Student Affairs that organizational misconduct was going unreported and thus unaddressed and that it was putting the safety of the campus community at risk. They recognized that they needed a means for students to easily and anonymously report violations of campus policies.
Dartmouth College realized that the Vector LiveSafe Mobile Platform would enable their community to report organizational misconduct and help build a safer campus environment. Additionally, collecting and analyzing Vector LiveSafe tips would enable them to conduct further investigations into violations and determine appropriate responsive action.
The university administration encouraged students to utilize the Vector LiveSafe Mobile App to submit any concerns or tips regarding regulation violations, notably those related to dangerous practices such as hazing and improper alcohol use. They received a significant number of reports about misconduct that threatened student health and safety and were able to gather information about unsafe practices. This led them to hire external investigators to conduct a thorough assessment based on submitted reports.
- 55% of college students who are involved in clubs, teams, and campus organizations experience hazing.
- 2 in 5 students say they are aware of hazing taking place on their campus, and, more than 1 in 5 have personally witnessed it.
- 95% of students who experience hazing do not report it to campus officials.
- 36% of students say they don’t report hazing because “there is no one to tell.”
- 82% of deaths that occur as a result of hazing involve alcohol abuse
External investigators reviewed tips submitted through the Vector LiveSafe Mobile App and conducted independent research into five fraternities, three sororities and co-ed Greek houses, three athletics teams, one student life organization, and a performance group. This led them to determine that five Greek houses and two sports teams were in violation of school policies. With this information, Dartmouth College was able to address incidents of hazing and alcohol abuse and ensure a safer community. Sanctions for these behaviors included required alcohol screening and intervention classes and suspension of social activities.
The Vector LiveSafe Mobile Platform empowered Dartmouth’s students to make their campus safer. Tip submission led to a crackdown on inappropriate and unsafe practices and helped foster a culture of safety and trust at Dartmouth College.
“Any report of hazing behavior or organizational misconduct causes concern. We want to be sure that our students and organizations are operating safely and within the boundaries of the Standards of Conduct.”
Associate Vice President for Communications, Dartmouth College