Cautioning the final clubs not to become "centers of heavy drinking," Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57 said this week that if they do not voluntarily cut down on underage alcohol consumption he will pressure club alumni to crack down.
Also this week, the alumni council for the nine all-male clubs decided to make next year's initiation process, called "punching," dry, according to an undergraduate club president who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
"It will be a dry punch next year," he said. "We all agreed that the Massachusetts alcohol policy has to be upheld."
In an unprecedented move earlier this fall, the Inter-Club Council (ICC) voted to ban alcohol from this year's punch, which ended last week. The group cited liability concerns.
The ICC, which includes a graduate president from each final club, banned the serving of alcohol to non-members on club premises during the punch. But liquor has been served to non-members during large outings, such as alumni dinners, club members said yesterday.
Jewett said he was interested in knowing whether the new rules had been enforced and whether the clubs' interest in cutting underage consumption would continue.
"If these groups become centers of heavy drinking, I think we'll have to do something," Jewett said. "I welcome efforts by the trustees and the undergraduate board to hold that in check," he added.
Because of a new federal law linking colleges' enforcement of alcohol laws to education aid, Harvard this fall tightened up its on-campus alcohol regulations.
Although the clubs are off-campus and have no official ties to Harvard, Jewett said the College has a number of tools it could use to pressure them. He said administrators could lobby alumni board members or solicit help from the City of Cambridge to restrict heavy underage drinking at the clubs.
"If it is notorious for drinking, then "I'm sure the city would be interested," he said.
But Jewett said that he was prepared to let the clubs try to comply with the alcohol laws first. He said that the College expressed concern about alcohol use at the clubs to the trustees earlier this fall.
"I'm prepared to give the club trustees a chance," he said.
Several club members interviewed yesterday said that their organizations were voluntarily working against illegal drinking and said they resented interference from the administration.
"The clubs are private institutions, and, therefore, have no official responsibility to anyone except to themselves and the alcohol laws," said one member, who requested anonymity.
"Jewett has no legal authority," said another member. "Clubs are concerned about liability. The statement that the University put pressure on the clubs is ludicrous."