A gender imbalance among super party suites may translate into a disproportionate number of male-sponsored campus parties, according to an analysis of party grant funding done by The Crimson.
The Undergraduate Council (UC) recognizes 13 “super party suites” that can apply for double the amount of party funding. These suites, such as the Eliot Ground Zero and the Currier 10-Man, generally have spacious common rooms and have been known to hold several large parties each semester.
Of the 13 suites, five are all-male and three are all-female. The rest are mixed-gender adjoining suites that are predominantly male. The Currier Tuchman Living Room, a common area, is also recognized as a party space eligible for the extra funding.
Under legislation introduced last semester, the UC now allocates twice as much funding for each of these super suites than other rooms. It distributes seven $100 grants for normal parties, and three $200 grants for “super parties” each week.
According to the UC’s party fund director Geoffrey D. Kearney ’07, only one super party grant has been given to the all-female suites out of around 45 super party grants awarded in total this year. Kearney said that the remaining super party grants went to the other official party suites as well as to parties hosted in house common rooms and larger connected suites.
Kearney said that students apply for party grants through the UC website, and he then randomly selects which suites receive funding each week. In the fall semester, the Winthrop White House and the Pforzheimer Meat Locker, two all-female party suites, did not apply for any UC super party funding, according to council records. The UC data also indicated that the third all-female suite, the Currier Gilbert Solarium, applied for funding five times. The five all-male suites applied for funding at least a total of 17 times.
“I think that here at Harvard the norm is for guys to throw parties and control the alcohol,” Radcliffe Union of Students (RUS) Co-President Dara F. Goodman ’07 said.
Males have been “consistently” getting the biggest rooms in the lottery, she added.
She said that it is difficult for the College administration to promote gender equity in the suites since students choose where to live.
Women may not be living in these super suites because their rooming groups tend to be smaller, said David L. Richmond ’06, who lives in Eliot Ground Zero.
Living in these rooms also comes with the expectation of throwing parties frequently, a role that some students say males are more likely to fulfill.
“If there are suites that are [composed of] girls, you would hear grumbling about how there won’t be good parties in those suites,” Goodman said.
Regardless of these assumptions, Goodman said females can be good party hosts too.
“I don’t think guys are any better at having fun,” she said.
Jia “Jane” Fang ’08, who sponsored the legislation that granted double-funding to super party suites, said the primary goal of party funding is to give money where it will benefit the most undergraduates. The funding is not meant to address specific imbalances in hosting parties, she added.
“It wouldn’t be fair to give the river twice as many party grants just to encourage parties on the river,” Fang said. “I don’t see the need to penalize big parties.”
But Goodman said she thinks that gender equity in party hosting should be taken into consideration since it affects other areas of campus life.
“I think it’s important that all areas of Harvard life be equal,” she said. “If you’re always in a space controlled by one gender, it provides the potential for a different type of interaction.”
—Staff writer Jillian M. Bunting can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Rachel L. Pollack can be reached at email@example.com.