Spencer M. Rascoff '97 came to Harvard in search of a good time during Freshman Week--but he says he didn't find it.
Instead, the Matthews Hall resident decided to trek to MIT and Boston College from the Yard because of the lack of parties, which he attributed to the College's new policy that makes the underage possession of alcohol a punishable offense.
"It's made Freshman Week very boring," Rascoff says.
Many first-years report that their first week of college was filled with smaller, tamer gatherings, and fewer of the sprawling out-of control events of past years.
"I've seen less drinking and fewer of the large parties we've been called on to respond to in the past," says Assistant Dean of Freshmen Michael J. Middleton '87.
The change in Harvard's regulations was made necessary by an amendment made to Massachusetts law last spring. The law, which previously prohibited only the purchase and serving of alcohol to minors, now additionally prohibits possession.
In a letter issued to students, Dean of the College L. Fred Jewett '57 wrote that tutors and proctors who discover students violating the policy will issue an informal warning, followed by a letter from a senior tutor or proctor for second offenders.
A third-time offense requires an Administrative Board case that may require mandatory alcohol treatment.
While some first-years conjecture that the new policy has deterred their classmates from throwing parties with alcohol, Matthews resident Sarah K. Kemble '97 says some first-years would welcome a quieter Yard.
"If people go elsewhere to drink then maybe it makes the dorms better for those who don't drink," Kemble says.
Rascoff blames Massachusetts law-makers--and not College policymakers--for his frustrations with the campus social life.
"I don't feel like the state is treating us maturely," he says. "It's like drinking in high school, drinking while looking over your shoulder."
As a result of the new policy, Jewett says he foresees a possible increase in the number of cases involving underaged drinking to go before the Ad Board.
"There probably will be more cases this year," he says. "But I'm hoping people that have been warned will make an effort to curb the problem."
But many students and tutors say they doubt the new policy will force an increase in the number of students, especially in the houses, receiving disciplinary action.
Alcohol Policy Can Threaten Student SafetyMary P. Daniels '02, whose name has been changed at her request, has little medical training, but last spring, she
Alcohol Policy Unevenly EnforcedDean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 does not like to talk about Harvard's alcohol policy. But he will
Students Binge Less, But Hurt More By Others' DrinkingWhile Harvard students binge far less often than the national average, they cause just as much harm to their peers
Survey Confirms Alcohol StereotypesHarvard binges less often than the rest of the nation, but true to common campus assumptions, athletes and final club
A Crackdown on Drinking?At Harvard, students have always had a cavalier attitude toward restrictions on alcohol. One University administrator recalls an incident in
University Can't Control Campus Binge DrinkingLike any good drinking game, the ice flow can be the life of a party. It's simple, slightly eccentric and