Conway said that he and other organizers triedto focus the event on students' lack of input inthe administration's decision, but many of theabout 1,000 students who flocked to the rallymerely expressed anger at the ban.
For this reason, the rally was ineffective,according to Pi Beta Phi Sorority President AlisaN. Plesco.
"It looked bad because students were rallyingbecause they couldn't drink," Plesco said, addingthat such an image would not help them win apolicy change.
Even though Plesco and other Greek students seethe change as a direct attack on the Greek system,the rally was not organized by fraternities orsororities. For students involved in Greek life,Plesco said, the ban means more than an end toeasy access to alcohol.
"[The administration is] really trying tosquelch the Greek system," Plesco said.
Plesco said fraternities and sororities dependon parties as recruitment tools and sources ofrevenue. Without alcohol, they can't havesuccessful parties.
According to Plesco, fraternities andsororities have tried to have dry parties in thepast with little success.
Has Harvard Done Enough?
Harvard administrators said the drinking scenehere differs from at Penn, and consequently thetwo schools face different types of alcohol abuse.
"I believe the change related to policies aboutparties at fraternities, which Penn recognizes andregulates, so the situation there is notcomparable to Harvard's," Dean of the CollegeHarry R. Lewis '68 wrote in an e-mail message.Harvard plays no role in the administration of theeight final clubs and one fraternity that ownbuildings in Harvard Square and haveundergraduates as members.
Lewis added that while the University continuesto be concerned about alcohol abuse, problems atHarvard stem from off-campus vendors andunofficial parties.
"I think the use of alcohol at recognizedfunctions is well-regulated here," Lewis wrote inan e-mail message.
Hector C. Bove '00, president of the Harvardchapter of Sigma Chi, said that his fraternitytakes specific steps to avoid the problems thatcaused the tragedy at Penn.
"We make a pretty good effort at riskmanagement," Bove said.
He said Sigma Chi hires a bartender to checkIDs and distribute the alcohol at its parties andhas invited campus peer counseling groups to talkto members about alcohol abuse.