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Alcohol Committee intends to establish policy on parties

By Craig Jungwirth

The Ad Hoc Committee on Alcohol has proposed "adoption of clearer and more current guidelines for parties held on campus," according to Dean for Student Affairs Shirley M. McBay.

"Essentially the [Ad Hoc Committee on Alcohol] had several options, one of which is becoming more popular [nationally]: an entirely dry campus," said Robert A. Sherwood, associate dean for student affairs. He said that the committee "overwhelmingly" disapproved of that policy.

Several universities in Massachusetts have lost their insurance policies or have experienced increases in insurance premiums because of liabilities associated with alcohol, Sherwood said. The proposed guidelines are only "step one for the alcohol committee," he continued.

The committee's proposals will probably be policies "which ... reiterate the law ... [and] guidelines for parties during the [academic] year," said committee member Stephanie Scheidler '85.

Sherwood cited two incidents related to the consumption of alcohol on campus. One admitted woman student attending MIT's Campus Preview consumed an "excessive" amount of alcohol in a dormitory and became seriously ill. She was probably 17, Sherwood said.

An 18-year old Simmons woman was placed in the protective custody of a local law enforcement agency after drinking to excess at a public party recently held in an MIT facility. She was totally out of control, Sherwood said, and was "locked up for her own protection."

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1 am closing time

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The committee's proposal also addressed closing times of dormitory and general parties. "The 1 am closing time was never an issue until this year," Sherwood said.

He was not sure whether students' increased awareness of closing time policies came as a result of the Campus Police's (CP) enforcement of a "... Massachusetts State law which says alcohol should go away at 1 am" at parties which are licensed to serve alcohol.

Carey Rappaport G, a member of the Committee on Student Affairs (CSA) and a Graduate Resident at East Campus, said he was "very annoyed" by the 1 am closing time, which he addressed "in November at a CSA Meeting."

"The CPs said and continue to say that there is no difference between [closing time] policies this year and previous years," Rappaport said. He said that "students [who have] signed liquor licenses that expire at 1 am" seem to understand the closing time policy.

"I really don't know why" closing time has become an issue this year, he added. "Things seems to be calming down, as far as I can see."

Rappaport added that the CSA is currently formulating a policy statement on the Ad Hoc Committee on Alcohol's new proposals.

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Open Parties

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Non-MIT people have "almost exclusively been the problems that have existed," at public parties held at MIT, Sherwood said. "That is the main [reason] why advertisement is an issue." The committee is "not trying to legislate MIT social life," he added.

There has been an inability to come to a consensus between living groups, CP and the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs about public versus private parties, according to Sherwood. "The CPs have not been able to define clearly enough ... when a party is private, [and is] not to be concerned about and when a party is public, [and is] to be concerned about."

"A lot of resentment, which is justified" has occurred between CPs and students when CPs have intervened in private parties in MIT dormitories, Sherwood said.