The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 36.0°F | A Few Clouds

Dormitories Channel Alcohol Funds Elsewhere

By Krista L. Niece
Staff Reporter

While the apparent focus of alcohol policy at the Institute has been on the activities of fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups, dormitory residents have also felt the effects of recently-passed Institute and student government policies.

A Dormitory Council policy prohibiting alcohol at dormitory events, created after the alcohol-related death of Scott S. Krueger '01, was recently lifted. President Charles M. Vest instituted a ban on the use of Institute funds for the purchase of alcohol for events where those under 21 would be present.

"I guess you could say [the Institute ban] is more stringent than our policy was,"said Dormcon president Ashesh P. Shah '98. "It made sense to lift our ban when there was [a ban from a higher authority] accomplishing the same thing."

Dormcon's blanket ban on alcohol in the dormitories had been put in place shortly after Krueger's death, following the lead of a similar Interfraternity Council ban for the fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups.

The definition of Institute funds is very broad. "If at Next House we have a party and I spend my own money, that's considered Institute funds," Shah said.

Alcohol policy affects events and purchases

While some dormitories and their social events may be adversely affected by the Institute ban, other dormitories will go largely unchanged, said some house presidents. As a result, student opinion about Institute alcohol policy remains mixed.

Wojciech P. Gizewicz '99, president of New House, did not anticipate the ban having a significant impact on the dormitory's budget. "There have been no dormwide events with alcohol in at least two years," he said. He did not see any strong reaction among the residents. "No one has sought me out to talk about it,"he said, although he added that there has not been a house meeting since the new policy was instituted.

MacGregor House President Ivan Gonzales-Gallo '98 felt differently. "Most of the social activities have been shut down. A big amount of money hasn't been spent." He predicted a significant surplus in the dormitory's budget in the wake of the ban.

Whatever the effect on dormitories, funds once used for alcohol will now have to be used in other ways, leaving dormitory presidents to decide on new ways to apportion and distribute house taxes.

Several ideas have been suggested for the extra money in MacGregor. "We have a new TV and new VCR," Gonzales-Gallo said.

Not everyone has been satisfied with this new arrangement. "We're talking about having a skating night, and more study breaks, but people want parties [with alcohol]," Gonzales-Gallo said.

"But,"Gonzales-Gallo later added, "there are people that like [the policy] and people who don't like it We're waiting and seeing what happens. This is just temporary."

East Campus President Ronnie G. Misra '98 believed that the ban would impact EC as well. "It already has this term," he said.

East Campus has been considering several ways of distributing the money that was previously spent on alcohol. Some of the ideas include giving more money to individual halls and reducing the house tax, or dedicating some of the surplus toward improving EC's facilities, such as the weight room and Talbot Lounge, Misra said.

Residents have had waning reactions towards the ban. "[Dormcon policy] was pretty heavily opposed when it first came up," Misra said.Opposition has ebbed recently, though. "Now, with the new Institute ban, no one seems openly against it," Misra said.

The Dormitory Council's policy "was a temporary ban on alcohol at events," Shah said. "No one's looking to sponsor a twenty-one-and-over event, so this policy is in effect the same thing."

The Institute ban policy will be in place "at least until April," Shah said.