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Graduate Council Bans Beer Kegs at Final Clubs

Final Clubs Limit Guests, Members Responsible for Safety

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The graduate board presidents of Harvard's eight final clubs voted unanimously this summer--as part of sweeping reforms in the clubs' guest and alcohol policies--to ban beer kegs at all club buildings.

At the July 3 meeting, the graduate board presidents, known collectively as the Inter-Club Graduate Council, also agreed to limit each club member to two guests at all times except parties, to require members to register visitors and to hold members responsible for the behavior and safety of their visitors.

Each club party, which is defined as a gathering that exceeds the two-guests-per-member policy, must now be approved in advance by the club's graduate board president.

"The theme this year for the clubs is less frat, more club which equals less alcohol [and] stricter guest policies," said Douglas W. Sears '69, chair of the Inter-Club Graduate Council.

Sears said the council's new policies were made in consultation with University officials.

"The Inter-Club Graduate Council and the Harvard administration have been in dialogue over the issues and are both aware that Harvard's social scene has shifted off campus [into the final clubs]," he said.

Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III confirmed that he and Sears had spoken "several times" this summer about "various safety issues which included the availability of alcohol to people who were underage."

"The step of banning kegs is welcome," Epps said. "Their absence leads to better control of drinking."

Epps also attended a meeting last Thursday of the Inter-Club Graduate Council where he presented a list of concerns and recommendations that the College has concerning the final clubs.

The graduate presidents also met with the undergraduate presidents Thursday to inform them of the new club policies.

Although the new policies set forth by the Inter-Club Graduate Council went into effect this summer, the undergraduate club presidents were unhappy with the keg ban and met Sunday night at the Fly Club to draft an alternative policy.

The undergraduate club presidents have not officially submitted a proposal to the Inter-Club Graduate Council, but Sears said the under-graduates would probably try to "modify the language concerning kegs on club property to say that no non-members can serve themselves from kegs [on club property]."

Impetus for Change

The graduate presidents decided to ban kegs and tighten guest policies in order to restore the club atmosphere, which they believe the clubs have lost in the past few years.

"Over the last 10 years, the club buildings have been used in a fashion in which they were never attended to function--as function halls and not as private, quite places for members to gather," Sears said.

But the graduate presidents also wanted the undergraduate membership to realize that they were serious about reforming the club's guest policies.

"To reform the guest policies, we first had to get [the membership's] attention," Sears said.

Although Sears said that no particular event spurred the creation of these new policies, events in recent years have rocked the clubs.

In 1990, the Pi Eta Club shut its doors after an incident at the club.

And, this spring, the D.U. Club closed and merged its graduate membership with the Fly Club. Problems at the D.U. began two years ago when D.U. member Sean M. Hansen '95 punched John Burnham, a Harvard football recruit from Maryland.

The University

Officially, the University has severed ties with the final clubs because the clubs exclude women from their membership and thus violate Harvard's non-discrimination policy.

Yet, as in this case, the University continues to consult with the clubs about their policies.

"The clubs practice within their legal and constitutional rights and, even though Harvard is separate from the clubs, Harvard's still going to try to tell us what to do," Sears said.

Epps' recommendations at Thursday's meeting included hiring stewards to manage club properties and enforce alcohol policies, employing retired Harvard police officers to work at parties and hiring bartenders to serve alcohol at the clubs, according to Sears

The University

Officially, the University has severed ties with the final clubs because the clubs exclude women from their membership and thus violate Harvard's non-discrimination policy.

Yet, as in this case, the University continues to consult with the clubs about their policies.

"The clubs practice within their legal and constitutional rights and, even though Harvard is separate from the clubs, Harvard's still going to try to tell us what to do," Sears said.

Epps' recommendations at Thursday's meeting included hiring stewards to manage club properties and enforce alcohol policies, employing retired Harvard police officers to work at parties and hiring bartenders to serve alcohol at the clubs, according to Sears

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