Tewhey rejects alcohol plan
By Sarah Keightley
Associate Dean for Student Affairs James R. Tewhey rejected the Dormitory Council's proposed alcohol policy on Wednesday, saying he could not accept the percentage of house taxes it would allow dormitories to use in purchasing alcoholic beverages.
Although Tewhey's Feb. 1, 1992, deadline for a revised proposal is a few months away, DormCon Chair Judy Chin '92 would like to finish the proposal before DormCon elections at the end of November. "We have a tight time schedule in that [November 21] will be the last meeting of DormCon," Chin said.
Chin said the amount of money dormitories should be allowed to spend on alcohol is a difficult issue because of the legal liabilities involved. Under DormCon's proposal, dormitories would be allowed to spend a percentage of house tax on alcohol equal to the percentage of residents over the age of 21.
Tewhey explained that "it was not reasonable that 25 percent of an entire tax budget [be spent on alcohol]. The sums involved would be very, very high." He said the formula was not an "accurate reflection of the budget process."
He added that the alcohol policy should work toward a mechanism that would assure no underage drinking took place in dorms, and suggested that "other options we might explore include seeing what organizations do."
by Tewhey's rejection
Next House President Seth M. Cohen '92 was disappointed that Tewhey rejected the plan. "We've put some time and effort into this. The house tax issue is a very delicate one."
"I feel the policy [was] pretty straightforward," said Jay M. Goodliffe '92, president of MacGregor House. He said that "it shows dormitories are taking initiative: that we as house governments are not condoning underage drinking." Goodliffe said that he plans to speak with Tewhey about the plan to see how more could be done without excessive regulation.
Baker House President Geoffrey C. Mayne '92 said that "I'm still unclear on why [the administration] wants the policy. Other DormCon [representatives] feel it's not going to be used at all; it'll be used to say they got student input." Mayne said, "I personally feel [the Institute] is asking too much."
Adam S. Lechner '92, Baker House treasurer, estimated that of the $17,500 collected in house taxes, $2900 -- or 17 percent -- was spent on alcohol.
"We have a lot of open parties. Another big thing is the two cocktail parties we have each term, which are for the faculty; we serve all good alcohol so we have good scotch, good alcohol for the professors." Of the $2900 Baker spent on alcohol last term, $1400 went towards these two cocktail parties, he added.
Other dorms also use
taxes for alcohol
Other dormitories displayed similar, but slightly lower, amounts of spending on alcohol. Next House Treasurer John E. Chow '92 said that $734, or 7.5 percent, of the $11,130 collected in house tax was spent on alcohol, and an additional $100 went toward a Cambridge liquor license.
Patrick M. Ewing II '92, the treasurer of MacGregor, said his dorm spends about 12 to 15 percent of its house tax money on alcohol. "I was kind of surprised, considering one-quarter of the dorm is over 21. I don't see how the much further the alcohol policy will help."
Random Hall Treasurer Haider A. Hamoudi '93 said that last term his dormitory collected $3215 in house tax, $250 -- or eight percent -- of which went toward the purchase of alcohol. Marlo Torres '93, treasurer of McCormick Hall, estimated that six percent of McCormick's house tax was spent on alcohol.
Tewhey had several other problems with DormCon's proposal. He said, "There were a couple of places in the policy which simply re-stated Institute policy. [If] Institute policy is the primary source, it should be paraphrased, not quoted." He also wanted DormCon to revise three other parts of the policy, including parts having to do with the definition of open and closed parties and making it clear where and when the social host needed to be present at a party.