The Board of Inquiry which has been investigating ways and means of providing beer in the House Dining Halls has, as was announced today, found a possible solution to its problem. It believes that the laws governing social institutions are sufficiently broad to permit the Houses to incorporate individually as clubs and thus gain the right to serve beer. If the plan proves feasible, it will be put into effect next fall.
Aside from the various questions of detail, a major obstacle to the success of the scheme is the cost of licenses; this expense is determined by the local licensing board, any may vary from twenty-five to five hundred dollars. Since each House must obtain a separate license, it is obvious that the cost would be prohibitive if the fee were set at the latter figure. Actually, there is no reason why an amicable settlement in this matter cannot be reached. If the University restricted the consumption of its matter cannot be reached. If the University restricted the consumption of its beer to the dining halls, it would materially reduce any competition with local merchants; this favor could be returned by the Cambridge authorities in the form of a reasonably low license fee, if they were willing to forego the opportunity of knifing the University.
Another main difficulty is the fact that beer cannot be dispensed to persons under twenty-one. While the restaurants in Harvard Square and other locations are not troubled by this provision of the law. it is said that it may prove an insistent thorn in the side of the University, because of the great number of minors concentrated within these walls. Officials and others will use the certainty that the young are to be exposed to the evil influence as an argument against the introduction of the golden fluid. The obvious asininity of such arguments and of the clause in the law which gives them effect, is not in question. Since the law does exist, some way around it must be found; this could be taken care of by such an expedient as the issuance from University Hall of cards certifying one's ago.
Besides these large obstacles, there are minor ones. Some object on moral grounds to the introduction of alcohol in any form. This argument can and should be answered by facing that fact known to all, that every college is at the present a perfect reservoir of bad liquor, and that the only influence of beer would be a salutary one leading away from poor gin. There will undoubtedly be other technical difficulties to be overridden. For instance, the beer cannot nominally be handled by the University Dining Halls, but must be dispensed by the individual House Clubs; prices will have to be adjusted with the benefit of the undergraduates in view; and there will doubtless be inaugurated a Lowell House Stein. The important fact, however, is that the University, after much seeking, has discovered an apparently workable scheme for irrigating the parched throats of its wards; the work of adjustment should now be pressed through, so that the situation may be completely ironed out by next fall.