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Alcohol policy will be revised

By Prabhat Mehta

A revised edition of MIT's alcohol policy -- likely to be released within the next several weeks -- will include a ban on kegs from all MIT living groups. The ban, which will apply to fraternities and other independent living groups as well as on-campus dormitories, comes as a response to outside pressures from the cities of Boston and Cambridge.

The keg provision has already been publicized through this year's edition of the Basic Regulations of the Institute Houses, which states, "The cities of Boston and Cambridge have passed ordinances which effectively prohibit kegs from college dormitories, fraternities and independent living groups. As of this year, kegs will be banned from all MIT living groups."

Although knowledge of the ban has reached student leaders in the fraternity and dormitory systems through word of mouth and the Basic Regulations, no formal notice has yet been given of the new rule.

Outside pressure

Pressure from Boston and Cambridge in recent years motivated the revisions in the alcohol policy, according to Susanna C. Hinds, director of campus activities.

In April 1988, the Boston Licensing Board passed a regulation limiting the amount of alcohol students could bring into dormitories or fraternities to the amount they could consume themselves. This policy effectively banned the use of kegs in Boston.

The BLB decision came after numerous complaints from police, college administrators and angry residents about out of control "keg parties."

Last spring, the Cambridge LicensingIt is actually License -- pm Commission cited similar reasons for backing a measure which would ban kegs from all student living groups in Cambridge.

According to the CLC's chairman, James C. McDavitt, representatives from Harvard University and MIT said they would ban kegs on their own to prevent action from the city. The CLC complied, he said, and did not pass a keg ban.

Campus Police Chief Anne P.

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Glavin said MIT initially had no objection to the CLC keg ban. But Harvard officials opposed the wording of the CLC proposal, she said, and their opposition eventually led to action on the university level, rather than by the city.

The changes in the alcohol policy, stressed acting Dean for Student Affairs Arthur C. Smith, did not constitute an independent alcohol-curbing effort by the Institute, but merely reflected city standards. "It was not so much a matter of MIT policy as obeying the law," he said.


Glavin concurred with that assessment, and indicated that although MIT parties often involve beer kegs, no special tactics would be employed to enforce the new ban. "We're not going out on a crusade against kegs at parties," she said.

Major impact on

parties predicted

There has been little reaction from students toward the keg ban. Many dormitory and fraternity leaders, like Interfraternity Council Judicial Committee chair Ariel Warszawski '90, simply have not had time to react. Warszawski said the IFC Executive Committee has yet to discuss the issue.

But others, like Burton-Conner President Poorti Srivastava '91, expressed concern over the impact the ban will have on party costs. One advantage of kegs, she noted, is that they are relatively inexpensive when compared to bottled or canned beer. "It will be much more expensive to get alcohol for parties," she said.

Undergraduate Association President Manish Bapna '91 criticized the lack of student involvement in the alcohol policy revisions. Hinds noted that student opinion was solicited during the revision process, but that no students were involved in the final decision making.


Regarding the keg ban, Bapna said, "I think MIT was caught in between and ended up taking the easy way out by appeasing the city."

The decision to end keg use came from the head of residence and campus activities, James R. Tewhey, according to Glavin. Despite repeated phone calls over the past week, Tewhey could not be reached for comment.