The Massachusetts state liquor law, diverting document that it is, does not clarify the situation which has existed since last year in regard to the serving of beer in the House dining halls. Some of the Housemasters have supported beer from the first and are growing impatient of delay, others have been converted more recently: now they stand in a fairly compact body behind its introduction. But the liquor laws and age limits exist in a fog of doubt, and until that fog is dispelled, there is small hope for action.
Of all the barriers, the most obstinate has been the twenty-one year age limit. Why this was extended to a beverage admittedly non-intoxicating must remain ever locked in the breasts of the Massachusetts legislature. But as it stands, it would permit beer in the houses only if separate tables were set up for those over twenty-one, and all others were rigidly barred from them by the dining hall administration. Little imagination is required to see that this would be an awkward and an undesirable rule; the spectacle of a headwaitress making discreet inquiries of even the least of her wards, the hand raised in warning, and the embarrassment that would ensue, are enough to mark this expedient for oblivion.
For obvious reasons, the university administration has said little on the question of beer in the Houses. But if student opinion were united, and pressure put on University Hall through the housemasters, it might be driven to admit that 3.2 beer with meals was a privilege which Harvard is certainly adult enough to claim, and to suggest this to the Massachusetts legislature. A simple amendment of the beer age limit from twenty-one to eighteen would be nothing but a legal acknowledgment of a plain fact. Even the Massachusetts legislature cannot remain forever so far from the walks of men, and so remote from their habits; with a little encouragement from the University, they would be willing to amend their limit, and thus make dining hall beer a possibility.