The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 54.0°F | Overcast

Alcohol Procedure Enforced

By Tiffany Kosolcharoen


All consumption of alcohol in public areas must be registered with MIT, said Daniel Trujillo, associate dean for the community development and substance abuse programs.

While alcohol may be consumed privately in dormitory rooms, any event with alcohol consumption in dormitory lounges, at fraternity parties, or in other public areas must undergo a seven step alcohol event registration process.

MIT must follow the Cambridge Licensing Commission regulations on fire safety and alcohol and adhere to its designation of what is a private or public space, Trujillo said. The Boston Licensing Board imposes similar restrictions on living groups in Boston.

Assistant Dean of Resident Programs Katherine G. O’Dair said, “I have heard from a lot of students --mostly alums, actually -- from Baker House who are not happy that [lounge] events need to be registered.”

The alcohol policies have caused minor changes in habit for students. “A student decided to have a beer with his math homework, but was successfully relocated,” said Laura C. Tiefenbruck G, a MacGregor House graduate residence tutor.

“If three people want to have some beer while watching a Red Sox game, it would be difficult,” said James K. Noonan ’04, a Baker House vice president. “We will just have to watch television from our rooms now because that is the rule.”

Consequences to infringement

This fall there have been cases of unregistered parties that are going through the discipline system, O’Dair said. “Our goal is to have residential JudComms handle these [incidents] in-house,” she said

Currently, students would attend a disciplinary hearing if a complaint to the police is lodged for a minor offense, said Steven J. Tyrell, associate dean of student discipline.

Fraternity licenses can be revoked and students can be fined on a case-by-case basis for public alcohol consumption, Tyrell said.

“It is not against the law to drink,” Tyrell said. But, “there are city and Institute rules regarding [the] ‘open container’ in common spaces.”

“The policies are not new,” Tyrell said. Last spring, MIT began to publicize its long-established alcohol policy among GRTs, housemasters, and various student groups.

“We developed teams to work with students to examine event registration policies and make them Institute-wide,” Trujillo said.

“There has been some confusion as to what the requirements are, [but] now there is more awareness,” said Tracy F. Purinton, assistant dean for student activities.

“All the GRTs and students had a floor meeting to make everyone aware” of the policies, Noonan said.

Facilities licensed for liquor

Walker Memorial and the MIT Faculty Club are two public MIT facilities that have liquor licenses. Graduate students often hold group events there because it is easier to obtain a one-day license for these buildings, Trujillo said. The Thirsty Ear Pub in Ashdown also has a liquor license.

Public Alcohol Event Registration Steps

All public alcohol events must be registered with the following seven step process:

1. Event Documentation The event host writes out the date, time, and location of the event. The host must be 21 or older and present for the duration of the event.

2. Location Confirmation The House Manager or Residence Life Associate verifies the site is appropriate for the event.

3. Alcohol Approval Permission from the Student Life Programs office is obtained through completion of an “Alcohol Proposal Form.”

4. Event Review Student Life Programs completes this step.

5. Campus Police Details MIT Police evaluates the need for event security.

6. Cambridge City License The event host obtains a Cambridge city liquor license at 831 Massachusetts Ave. for the event.

7. Complete Form The event host submits the Event Registration Form, as well as signed contracts and copies of licenses, to W20-549.

Source: MIT Community Development & Substance Abuse Programs