Administrators Ban Hard Liquor at Off-Campus Formals

Only beer and wine—not hard alcohol—will be served at off-campus formals this semester, according to changes in the alcohol policy outlined by Dean of Student Life Suzy M. Nelson at a Committee on Student Life meeting yesterday morning.

In addition, House staff and members of Student Event Services teams—the new form of the Beverage Authorization Teams that previously distributed alcohol to students—will now be required to check student IDs at all large House events. While the new policy stipulates that larger House events like dining hall parties must have a SES team or House staff, it remains unclear if this policy will apply to smaller events such as Stein Clubs.

These modifications represent part of a larger push by Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds to enforce alcohol policy in a more uniform manner throughout the Houses, Nelson said.

Last year the College banned hard alcohol from on-campus formals after the Cambridge License Commission decided that only beer and wine licenses could be issued for ticketed events taking place in dining halls.

The decision to extend the policy to off-campus House events comes in the wake of two weeks of rumors regarding possible changes to the College alcohol policy since the cancellation of "Pfoho Golf," which was to take place last weekend.

At the time, Pforzheimer House Masters Nicholas A. Christakis and Erika L. Christakis ’86 sent an email to the House community informing them that the event did not abide by College policy because it involved the distribution of hard alcohol and did not have House or SES staff serving liquor.

Last month, Hammonds published an editorial in The Crimson about the College’s alcohol policy and the dangers of binge drinking.

"The College’s alcohol policy is designed to safeguard the health of students and to create an environment that gives undergraduates the best chance to learn and grow at Harvard," Hammonds wrote.

In the midst of current attempts to standardize alcohol policy across the Houses, House Committee chairs have said that the way each House interprets the alcohol policy seems to be in flux. For example, Kirkland House HoCo chair Juan P. Munoz ’12 said that the Office of Student Life indicated to him that Kirkland would be permitted to serve hard alcohol at its off-campus spring formal at the Boston Aquarium on April 30.

Munoz said that he received an email this morning indicating that there would be changes in the alcohol policy at this month’s formal.

"It’s a big surprise," he said.

HoCo chairs said that the decision to require more oversight of alcohol distribution at House events is likely to have a larger impact on House life than the decision to ban hard alcohol from House off-campus events.

HoCo chairs have said that policy at House events like Stein Clubs that regularly allow HoCos to serve their peers may have to change because of the new policy.

During the meeting, Nelson said that the CSL would form a committee of House Masters, students, and other members of the College community to further review the alcohol policy.

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