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Vendors Seek Alliance With Harvard

Cambridge Liquor Licensees Aim to Curb Underage Drinking on Campuses


Cambridge liquor vendors are seeking support from Harvard and other nearby schools in their campaign to curb underage drinking in the city.

In a meeting Monday, members of the Cambridge Liquor Advisory Board (CLAB), an organization of local liquor licensees, outlined a plan to work together with local universities to reduce illegal drinking by underage college students.

"We can combine our efforts and learn from each other," says Cheryl Alavi, director of food and beverage at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, a member of CLAB.

"We now feel the best approach--as Hillary Clinton or Eleanor Roosevelt said, 'It takes a community to raise a child'--it takes a community to resolve an issue," Alavi said.

Although Harvard administrators said they have not yet discussed the idea with CLAB, they said underage drinking is an ongoing concern for the University.

"It sounds like a very interesting prospect," said Assistant Dean of Students Sarah E. Flatley.

Flatley said Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 has been "very concerned" that students understand the consequences of underage drinking.

Area liquor vendors said college students do contribute to the underage drinking problem.

"There's a lot of underage drinking at the University," said Jim Hill, who owns Libby's Liquor Market, a Mass. Ave. liquor store. "There's a lot of people of age purchasing for people in dorms and houses."

Hill said that kind of illegal drinking tarnishes the reputation of liquor vendors.

Alavi said one goal towards which the University and CLAB can certainly work toward is educating students about the negative effects of underage drinking.

"With the help of the University and their tools we can spread that message most efficiently," she said.

Another of CLAB's goals is to step up court actions against underage drinkers "instead of just a slap on wrist," said Richard V. Scali, executive director of the Cambridge License Commission.

According to Scali, CLAB also plans to lobby the state government for laws allowing police to ticket underage drinkers.

According to Flatley, Harvard does not currently lobby the state on issues involving underage drinking.

CLAB was founded in 1993 as the Underage Drinking Task Force but floundered shortly thereafter.

According to Scali, the effort was reinvigo rated in November 1995 when the Hyatt was found to have violated its liquor license that October by allowing a party of 700 Asian American college students at which alcohol was served to minors. A fight broke out, and several partyers were stabbed. As part of its settlement, the Hyatt agreed to resurrect the Task Force as CLAB.

Over the past nine months, according to CLAB members, the organization has focused on educating licensees about issues of underage drinking, including recognizing false IDs and responding to specific situations.

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