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Random Hall Reverses House Tax Policy on Alcohol

By Hyun Soo Kim
News Editor

Random Hall residents voted Wednesday to reinstate the use of the house tax to fund alcohol at house parties. This overturned a previous motion passed two weeks ago, which has raised disagreements among the residents.

The motion passed 37-16, provided that some governance on spending is later established.

Brian J. Young '96, who proposed the original motion to stop house alcohol spending, started the discussion. "The use of alcohol bothers me. ... I just don't want to support them in that. It's not that I am telling people it's wrong, but I personally don't want to fund it. I would prefer it if house parties were dry."

"College is a place to learn and find out about the real world," one resident countered. "I like the fact that I had opportunities to try some drinks in a relaxed atmosphere" in the dormitory.

"As far as house meetings go, nothing major like this has come up in the past two years," Young said. "There were 20 extra people [at the budget meeting]. Just that shows how many people feel strongly about it," Young said.

Over 50 out of 86 residents attended Wednesday's meeting which lasted over two and a half hours; only about 30 people had attended the first meeting.

Four proposals considered

After the vote to rescind the ban on house alcohol spending, four proposals were considered to set a governance on alcohol, with varying limitations on alcohol spending. "The one that passed had a spending cap, based on the number of people who want to have alcohol at parties," Young said.

The proposal also stipulated that alcohol will not be allowed in the main lounge or basement areas at half of the parties, according to House President Erika K. Schutte '95. This is "so that people can enjoy a party atmosphere without drinking around," she said.

"Personally, I would have liked the proposal I suggested originally, but this will make the most people happy in the long run," Young said.

Social Chair Dean L. Franck '95 disapproved of the final proposal, which passed by a very narrow margin. Franck said that he would have preferred just the spending cap on alcohol, based on the number of people who wanted their part of the house tax to be spent on purchasing alcohol, without the provision of making half the house parties dry.

"This motion and the proposal [on governance], were all brought up at the end of the meeting, and the stress and the length of the meeting affected people's judgment because they all just wanted [the meeting] to be over," he said.

Franck added although "the house doesn't buy [the alcohol] and you can't drink in the basement and in the lounge ... people can still drink in other places. And there are no penalties for people who don't follow the rule about the [restricted areas]."

"I'm kind of relieved that the issue is mostly over. There are a couple of people who are against restricting spending, but a majority of people are pretty happy with the final compromise proposal," Schutte said. "For the past couple of weeks, we had factions in the dorm. I think this will calm it down a lot."

Cancelling R/O money considered

Residents also voted to continue allocating money for Residence and Orientation Week activities at Random Hall, in effect considerably reducing their participation in rush. The dormitory has allocated $500 already for rush. After an hour of discussion, the motion was defeated by a 35 to 17 vote, with two abstentions.

"I don't think the funded rush activities are effective at drawing people to Random," said Christian A. Trott '96, who proposed the motion. "People have told me that rush activities are poorly attended by frosh."

But Heather A. Harrison '97 countered, "I wouldn't be here [Random] if they didn't have funded activities. ... Freshmen are not attracted if you don't offer anything. I got involved in activities, and I ended up staying here."

The motion is not meant to make Random Hall anti-rush, but rather to use money to make improvements on the house to attract freshmen, David R. Bacher '94 said.

Random Hall spent approximately $1,500 last year on house-funded rush activities. Much of this money was spent on food and a beach trip last fall, Schutte said.