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Repeal key ban

Repeal keg ban

MIT's ban on kegs from all living groups makes little sense. It serves no clear purpose and cannot be properly enforced. While alcohol-related problems on campus persist, this new extension of administrative autocracy solves nothing. The keg ban does not apply to large parties with one-day liquor licenses. As a result, the problem of "out-of-control keg parties" will not be addressed. The ban only applies to private events: small get-togethers and cocktail parties. Not only do relatively fewer alcohol-related incidents emerge from these events, but they are virtually impossible to monitor. What is most unsettling about the keg ban, however, is not its lack of justification so much as the dishonesty with which it has been perpetuated.

At first students were told that this ban was in response to city pressure. Indeed, this year's Basic Regulations book states, "Boston and Cambridge have passed ordinances which effectively prohibit kegs from college dormitories, fraternities and independent living groups." That assertion was used to justify MIT's keg ban. But, alas, a call to the Cambridge License Commission indicates there to be no keg ban in the city. The three-member commission was considering a prohibition on kegs earlier this year, but it never came to realization.

The Dean's Office has admitted its deception in placing blame for the keg ban on the city, but only by spreading another false rumor. "City pressures," said Associate Dean for Student Affairs James R. Tewhey and Director of Campus Activities Susanna C. Hinds, forced MIT to adopt a keg ban on its own. The CLC, responding to neighborhood complaints about boisterous, drunken students wreaking havoc, told Harvard and MIT to ban kegs or face the consequences, they claimed. Administrators had to impose the restrictive new rules to avoid the presence of Cambridge cops at campus events.

But a memorandum written by Campus Police Chief Anne P. Glavin on April 12 clearly indicates that the CPs had a role in initially bringing up the issue to the CLC. The memo -- sent to Tewhey, Assistant to the President Ronald P. Suduiko, and Senior Vice President William R. Dickson '56; -- tells how, "as per my suggestion at the time," the license commission added the Boston keg ban -- initiated last fall -- to a proposed revision in alcohol regulations for Cambridge's licensed dormitories. Harvard opposed the ban, saying it was unenforceable and infringed upon students' rights. But Glavin was quick to reaffirm MIT's support: "On MIT's behalf I advised the Commission we supported the amendment and that we believed we could enforce it."

And as last Friday's story revealed, that's not where MIT's involvement began ["Keg ban does not include big parties"]. According to CLC Executive Director Richard V. Scali, Campus Police lieutenant Edward D. McNulty approached the CLC early this year for help in enforcing campus drinking rules. The commission only then convened hearings to consider changing its own regulations. In other words, if it had not been for MIT, the commission would have never even considered changing its alcohol policies, let alone passing a keg ban.

The administration and Campus Police have been blatantly deceptive in adopting a ridiculous policy which no one will bother enforcing. The keg ban was MIT's initiative, and once it was evident that Harvard would not let the CLC pass a citywide ban, the Institute went ahead and imposed one itself. As a confirmation of the city's indifference on the issue, Harvard last week decided against banning kegs. Clearly, in this case the best policy for MIT is also no policy: The keg ban must be repealed.