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Deans Will Study Parietal Rules, May Propose Reduction in Hours

By Bruce L. Paisner

The Deans' Office is planning an extensive study of parietal rules this year and is giving "serious thought" to reducing the number of hours that men may entertain women in dormitory rooms, according to Dean Watson.

"We had several bad situations here last year," Watson said, "and we could easily have had a scandal on our hands. Many students seem to have lost all sense of responsibility and if there are further incidents we'll have to move in and cut back hours."

Watson said that the Masters are not in favor of any cutback in parietal hours, but he insisted that the Masters "are just not cued into what's going on in student rooms."

"It is not appropriate for a Harvard student to entertain a girl in his own room," Watson said. According to the Dean, most Masters think Saturday night dating in students suites is restricted to living rooms.

"We have to watch the mores of our students," Watson said. "I do not want to see Harvard play a leading role in relaxing the moral code of college youth. The College must follow the customs of the time and community. We cannot have rules more liberal than a standard generally accepted by the American public."

Watson insisted that it is "definitely a privilege" for the College to allow women into the Houses at all, and pointed out that before 1952 no woman could enter a Harvard dormitory after 7 p.m. In 1952, hours were extended to 11 p.m. on Saturday evening and in 1956 to 12 p.m.

But as far as Watson in concerned "we bit off more than we could chew with that decision."

Some College officials think the current undergraduate attitude is: "What the hell; the College authorities know we don't have girls in our rooms just to bold hands and do intellectual exercises, so they must approve of what we are doing."

Infractions Frequent

Watson said that "the privilege of parietal hours must be very carefully supervised." He stressed that College officials "are very much afraid of a scandal if the situation continues as it was last year."

"We find girls staying in dormitory rooms after hours, boys from other Houses writing illegibly in the sing-in books, girls being signed out by someone other than her host, and many other infractions," Watson said. "Sometimes girls are signed out at midnight on Saturday, and they're still in there," Watson said.

Stricter Enforcement Necessary

"What is particularly distressing to Dean Monro and myself," Watson said, "is that the Masters think all is running smoothly." Watson stressed that the Deans' office "is not happy with the present system" and indicated that stricter enforcement of existing rules is necessary.

Before asking the Faculty to change the present regulations, the Deans will talk to administrators of local women's colleges, to parents' associations, to leaders of the Harvard student body, and to representatives of the University Health Services.

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