Tonight, and probably every Saturday night from now on, the chandeliers in the Kirkland House Junior Common Room will be blazing away with a purpose. Their continual incandescence is one requirement of Kirkland Houses new rule permitting housemembers to entertain dates in the Common Room until eleven P.M. Saturday evenings.
While this will mean some relief to those who cannot afford entertainment any more extravagant than a beer at Cronin's or an evening spent in an inconspicuously parked automobile, it is hardly a substitute for the parictal rules revision. At best, it gives Kirkland House men with nothing better planned a place to go. As such, it is no more an adequate solution than similar expedients adopted previously by all the Houses but Eliot.
For one thing, the common-room system allows no privacy. For another, it allows no alcohol--even beer is prohibited. Far more important, however, is the requirement that good order, manners and morals be upheld.
As a request this is hardly unreasonable, but as a rule it represents the same old lack of faith in the undergraduate's ability to arrange his own social affairs, a lack of faith that underlies the present parietal rigors. Under the Kirkland common-room plan, it is the officials who will determine what constitutes good order, manners, and morals, not the undergraduates. No matter how liberally this doctrine is applied, it will clash with the traditional discretion allowed students in all other decisions affecting their college careers.
The Housemasters have already spotted this inconsistency, and last fall they attempted to remove it. Because the recommendations they made at that time were rejected, the common-room system may be the furthest they can go in solving the parietal problem. However, this concession should not lull them into believing that the problem no longer exists, and that they should renew their older and less-enlightened stand when the subject is reconsidered.