Forum to address Institute alcohol policy
Earlier last term, Associate Dean for Student Affairs James R. Tewhey and ranking members of the Undergraduate Association agreed that MIT's alcohol policy and the Institute's alcohol strategy, generally, needed to be studied and perhaps revised.
A committee composed of a majority of students, key officials from the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, a housemaster and a graduate resident tutor was formed in late November to carry out that agenda.
The origin and composition of the committee is quite unique, because it represents an unprecedented spirit of cooperation between the MIT administration and the undergraduate student body.
One of the issues that has arisen is the role of dormitory house tax money in the purchasing of alcohol. Some students have complained that their house tax money should not be used to purchase alcohol, for a variety of reasons.
In a survey conducted on Registration Day and over this past weekend, the majority of students who objected to their house tax money being used for alcohol mentioned three themes: Underage students who cannot legally consume alcohol must nevertheless pay for it through the house tax; some students, due to medical problems, cannot consume alcohol whatsoever; and, some students have moral opposition to themselves drinking, and therefore are making a mere donation to the dorm with parts of their house tax.
Additionally, there may be some legal ramifications for MIT to use Institute funds (which house tax monies are, since they are collected under the auspices of the Bursar's Office as non-optional part of living at a given dormitory) to fund alcohol for a primarily underage community.
To obtain a complete perception of student opinion about the house tax issue, there will be an open forum this upcoming Tuesday. This open forum, and those to follow, will no doubt be very influential in determining the committee's position and the administrators' understanding of student opinion.
Also, there will be additional open forums to give students a chance to speak out about the issue of alcohol in general.
Ultimately, the UA council will vote on our overall recommendations. I hope that all undergraduates will use this very powerful voice that they have been given by the administration.
Jeremy Paul Kirby '92->
UA Standing Committee->
on Student Life->