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Key ban formally changed

By Prabhat Mehta

The keg ban instituted this term as part of a revised alcohol policy statement yet to be released has been officially amended to reflect the limitations on its applicability.

In a letter sent to house presidents and social chairs on Oct. 27, Associate Dean for Student Affairs James R. Tewhey outlined the modifications and formally defined what constitutes a keg.

"We made the modification because a number of student groups, including the [Undergraduate Association] and people from the houses, had talked to us about possible changes that might both clarify the policy and make it more manageable in living groups," Tewhey said in an interview last week.

"The initial ban, as it was put in place . . ., said not under any circumstances could kegs be available in houses at any time," he explained. "The modification is a bit more extensive."

"Kegs may be used in MIT-approved housing," the letter states, "if the event is licensed by the City of Cambridge or if a function has been approved by the Student Activities Section of the Office of the Dean for Student Affairs."

However, since the city of Boston banned kegs from dormitories and fraternities last year, "kegs will continued to be banned in . . . Institute living groups" in Boston.

"The effect of these modifications," the letter concludes, "is to allow kegs in public and private parties in MIT approved living groups [in Cambridge] so long as those events are either licensed to sell beer and wine or registered through the Student Activities Section of the [ODSA]."

Since parties which apply for liquor licenses must be registered through Student Activities first, all on-campus parties involving kegs will now have to be approved by MIT, said Neal H. Dorow, advisor to fraternities and independent living groups.

The modified policy also means that for the first time fraternities and other ILGs will have to register parties with MIT if they apply for liquor licenses in the city of Cambridge, Dorow said. Previously, no "off-campus" parties were required to register with MIT, he said.

The letter also explains what items constitute a keg for the purposes of the ban. "Kegs are, for the purpose of this policy, to be defined as kegs, half-kegs and pony kegs," the letter says.

UA President Manish Bapna '91 felt that given the recent modifications, the impact of the keg ban on parties and alcohol consumption would be relatively minor. "All in all, I don't think we're going to see any change from the past two or three years responsible drinking," he added.

Notification of the keg ban first appeared in this year's edition of the Basic Regulations of the Institute Houses. The wording of the policy in that booklet -- which simply stated that "[a]s of this year, kegs will be banned from all MIT living groups" -- had confused many students, who thought the ban applied to all parties.

The keg ban policy is part of an overall revision of the alcohol policy statement, which administrators have said will be released some time this fall.

(Editor's note: Andrea Lamberti contributed to the reporting of this story.)