By Katie JeffreysBy Katie Jeffreys
Rush has not always been the highly regulated (read: dry) event experienced by students in recent years. Since the Orientation of 1985 policies on fraternity and dormitory alcohol consumption during rush have grown increasingly stringent.
The Massachusetts drinking age increased to 21 during the summer of 1985, and MIT responded by mandating a “dry rush.” At that time, a dry rush was defined as “the absence of alcohol at events in common areas during the period when freshmen are being recruited for dormitories, fraternities and other independent living groups” [“Alcohol policy announced,” May 10, 1985]. The policy excluded Saturday and Sunday evenings from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. (at the time all parties closed at 1:00 a.m. due to City of Cambridge laws).
The first dry rush proved to meet previous years’ numbers, with 380 pledging fraternities. In addition no violations of the “Policy Statement on the Use of Alcohol” were enforced, although three were reported.
Since then, dry rush has become politicized. Some students feared that a dry rush would mislead freshmen into believing houses have different attitudes alcohol than what is true. Alternatively, a dry rush allows freshmen to make a more unbiased, well-informed, clear-headed decision about housing.
The trend towards a fully dry rush was led over the years by the Interfraternity Council in conjunction with the administration. Today a house is dry throughout rush until its desk closes unless the individual house rules are more stringent. In addition, alcohol may not be seen in the presence of a rushee.