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A Tear in Their Beer



HAVE you hugged a final club member today?

The poor souls who once soared at the top of the Harvard social hierarchy and earned the loathing of decent students now deserve only our deepest sympathy. After the Inter-Club Council (the adults who make club decisions) banned kegs from the clubs, barred alcohol from punching events and even proposed to ban guests from the nine all-male institutions, clubbies across campus could be seen dabbing tears away with their silk pocket squares.

Now where will these social climbers go to abuse their livers? How will they be able to determine which club "punchees" have the level of alcohol tolerance required for membership? And the big question: If female guests are barred from the clubs, will club members be forced to meet women in a place where men and women are treated equally?

The Inter-Club Council's decision came after some typical club antics a week and a half ago: students reported that at least four and perhaps as many as eight club partiers were brought to area hospitals with symptoms of alcohol poisoning. Club elders--evidently afraid of the devastating impact of increasingly tough' liability laws--decided to clamp down on drinking.

Of course, the Inter-Club Council has insisted for years that "The clubs as organizations do not serve alcohol to anyone," a regulation included in all punching invitations and duly ignored by the clubs. But this time, the crackdown on booze--at least at punching events--seems to be for real. The Inter-Club Council seems intent on taking the fun out of exclusivity and gender discrimination.

Well, not all the fun. As far as we can determine, the Inter-Club council did not halt the male-bonding activities that many members insist are the real reason they join final clubs. No doubt, arm wrestling, watching Super Bowl re-runs and telling lewd jokes will continue late into the night. So too will rap sessions in which members fine tune their resumes before mailing them to their friends' fathers and fathers' friends.

But what about the punching events? Rather than drinking games, will punchees be asked to compete in other games to gain admission to a club? And which games--simple board games like Chutes & Ladders, or games appropriate to club members' level of maturity--like Chutes & Ladders?

Perhaps the ultimate irony is that alcohol laws threaten to do what years of activist boycotts, picnics and sing-alongs could not: take the fun out of the clubs, and by doing so, destroy their impact on Harvard social life.

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