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Playboy’s #1 party school is about to get an image change — Penn has adopted a ban on hard alcohol that will go into effect on April 1.

In a University statement released on Tuesday, Penn President Amy Gutmann announced that Penn will impose a ban on all beverages that contain 15 percent alcohol or more. The ban applies to campus residences and all events sponsored by the University or by student groups. The policy extends to events held off-campus by student groups, such as Greek organizations involved in the Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils.

The specific methods of enforcement for the new policy remain vague. However, Gutmann said Penn Police will enforce the policy on and around campus, from 33rd to 41st streets between Chestnut and Baltimore. In addition, the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement will maintain a much stronger presence in the Penn area to aid in the policy’s implementation.

Although many student groups hold their events off-campus, administrators said that University operating agreements technically allow the administration to set down alcohol policy for all organizations connected to Penn and involving Penn affiliates even if they are not operating on University premises.

“Here at Penn we are constantly re-evaluating how to create a productive and beneficial environment for our students,” Gutmann said. “We believe the new policy will benefit all students by making sure students’ Penn experiences are safe and secure.”            

Penn’s new alcohol policy closely resembles the policy adopted by Dartmouth in January. Also in January, Brown adopted a new policy banning all alcohol, hard or not, from being served at residence hall parties or fraternity and sorority events.

A Penn junior, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that she believes the new policy reflects a concern for Penn’s image rather than what makes the most sense for students.

“Penn is just doing this to look like it is keeping up with other Ivy League schools and help its image, not because it thinks it will actually change the way people socialize,” she said.

A Penn senior said that rather than reducing the consumption of hard alcohol, the ban would just drive drinking underground, away from University supervision and resources such as MERT.

“Because of this policy, students will be more likely to binge drink at pre-games, or they will just go further away from campus to party” he said. “[Banning hard alcohol] and driving drinking underground will not change the culture of partying at Penn.”

A freshman student agreed, suggesting alternatives to the new policy.

“Adopting such an extreme policy isn’t in anyone’s best interest because it prohibits alcohol use rather than opening a dialogue,” she said. “Instead, the University should focus on getting more resources to educate students [about alcohol use] and work on providing things for students to do besides partying.”

After the announcement, there was some speculation that the policy is a reaction to escalated incidents of fraternity pledging over the past several years, which has resulted in several fraternities being placed on probation or moving off-campus. However, Provost Vincent Price said that the policy change is the result of a long-term internal review of Penn’s alcohol policy rather than any particular student misconduct incidents.

“Penn has a reputation for academic excellence and we want to make sure that Penn’s strong learning environment takes precedence,” Price said in an email statement.

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