The Committee on House Life (CHL) decided in a meeting yesterday to send to the College’s Council of Masters proposals to extend dorm room party hours to 2 a.m. and reconsider the fireplace ban.
Sending the proposals to the masters’ council for further review is the next step in moving both proposals towards reconsideration by Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71, who ultimately has the last word on both policies.
The proposal to extend party hours listed several options for implementation that could minimize disturbance to Cambridge neighbors, who often complain about late-night noise.
Undergraduate Council Student Affairs Committee Chair Matthew W. Mahan ’05, who presented the proposal, said that extending the party hours could actually decrease the amount of noise on weekend nights.
Many of the noise complaints, he said, are spurred by loud students wandering through neighborhoods after parties end at 1 a.m.
Since students aren’t usually ready to go home at 1 a.m. on weekends, after being kicked out of parties they often roam the streets or walk to final clubs and bars to finish out the night, according to Mahan.
The proposal says that if parties lasted until 2 a.m., “this would constitute an increased incentive for students to stay in the Houses for the entirety of their social evening.”
The proposal cites a 2001 council survey which showed that 86 percent of students usually go to bed after 2 a.m. on weekends, and that 91 percent of students supported extending party hours to 2 a.m. It also noted that most of Harvard’s peer institutions, including Brown, Columbia and Yale, allow parties until 2 a.m.
Mahan added that extending party hours is one of students’ top priorities.
Associate Dean of the College Judith H. Kidd said that the main problem with noise comes from students in transit at night, particularly from the Quad to the River area.
CHL members suggested that many of the noise complaints could be alleviated by additional shuttles from the Quad.
Kidd said after the meeting that the administration has earmarked funds to expand shuttle service, though they have not yet decided whether shuttles would go later, or run more often during existing times, or both.
“The dean and I are very aware of the fact that there are not enough shuttles for party closing time to get students back to the Quad,” she said.
She said during the meeting that shuttle service must be increased in tandem with more extensive police coverage to facilitate boarding of the buses.
The 2001 council survey also showed that 12 percent of students have had trouble sleeping or working due to party noise on weekend nights, and CHL members said that this issue must also be taken into account in reviewing the proposal.