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Loker Commons Restricts Service To Community

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Loker Commons this week instituted a new "no ID, no service" policy, and workers at the counters yesterday refused service to anyone who could not produce a valid Harvard ID.

The new policy came at the demand of the Cambridge License Commission, which insisted Harvard either take more aggressive measures to keep the public out of Loker or submit to regulation as a restaurant.

"If you are serving the public you are in the restaurant business and you need a [restaurant] license," said Richard V. Scali, executive officer of the license commission.

As a result of an agreement between the license commission, Harvard Planning and Real Estate, Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 and university attorneys, Harvard will not have to control access to the building as long as it checks the identification of all customers to verify that food and beverages are sold only to students, faculty and staff.

"We feel it is better to have enforcement at the point of sale rather than the point of entry," said Director of the Memorial Hall/Lowell Hall complex Eric. C. Engel.

The inquiry from the license commission came as a result of complaints from the community, Scali said.

"We received complaints from people who were going in there and saying they were allowed to be served," Scali said. "They were serving anyone who went in there and we told them they had to be licensed."

Several Harvard Square restaurant owners have criticized Loker Commons since it opened this year. One contacted last night said he just wants all restaurants in the area to be treated equally.

"If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck," said Gary Stolloff, owner of the BeBop Burrito restaurant in Harvard Square. "Loker Commons looks like the food court of a shopping mall. If it looks like a restaurant why should there be a different standard than other restaurants?"

Students approached in Loker said they supported the change.

"The last thing I want is 30 kids from Rindge and Latin taking up space intended for students," said Joseph S. Evangelista '96. "This is a student center, not a community center."

But an alumnus took a different view.

"I wonder what Mrs. Loker would say about Harvard excluding alumni from this wonderful place," said Rod Kessler '71, after haggling at two different counters in an eventually-successful effort to buy a slice of pizza and candy for his five-year-old son Martin.

"I would like to see Harvard devise a system to at least give graduates access," said Kessler, who lives in the area.

Prior to this agreement, administrators had rejected proposals to limit Loker to students and staff, according to Rudd W. Coffey '97, a member of the Memorial Hall/Lowell Hall Advisory Committee.

"We addressed that last year," he said. "And the administrators' response was that to make it economically feasible, we need the outside money. When Sanders Theatre lets out, they are depending on those people to buy coffee and desserts."

Coffey praised the new policy.

"I think it's a good move," he said. "They're going to have to focus on students. Now that the Sanders Theatre coffee crowd isn't there, maybe it will move away from fancy desserts more toward snack food."

But Coffey expressed concern about the possible consequences of the lost revenue.

"I would hate to see them start raising rates and finding ways to raise money," he said.

Engel said he hoped people would understand that the reason the facility was not limited to Harvard affiliates before was so visitors and guests of Harvard could be served there.

"Our agenda from the opening of Loker was not so we could get rich selling food to the public but so we could welcome people visiting the complex," he said.

The new policy will allow accompanied guests of the Harvard community to purchase food at Loker.

In other Loker news, flyers at the commons yesterday announced that free coffee and snacks will be available in the coffeehouse from 1:30 to 2:30 a.m. nightly, from May 4 to May 24

"I would hate to see them start raising rates and finding ways to raise money," he said.

Engel said he hoped people would understand that the reason the facility was not limited to Harvard affiliates before was so visitors and guests of Harvard could be served there.

"Our agenda from the opening of Loker was not so we could get rich selling food to the public but so we could welcome people visiting the complex," he said.

The new policy will allow accompanied guests of the Harvard community to purchase food at Loker.

In other Loker news, flyers at the commons yesterday announced that free coffee and snacks will be available in the coffeehouse from 1:30 to 2:30 a.m. nightly, from May 4 to May 24

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