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Taps Run Dry At Mather Formal

By Ella A. Hoffman, Crimson Staff Writer

The Mather House courtyard ran dry at the sparsely-attended spring formal last night, a week after HUPD officers shut down the wet and wild Mather Lather.

The Cambridge Licensing Commission—which is responsible for issuing one-day liquor and entertainment licenses for House formals held on campus—offered Mather House a “license on terms different from the normal ones,” according to Mather House Co-Master Leigh Hafrey.

But the Mather House Council (HoCo) and the Mather House masters decided not to accept a liquor license under these terms, Hafrey said.

Hafrey declined to comment on the exact nature of the altered terms, merely saying that there was “an adjustment, which seemed significant to us.”

Members of the Mather HoCo declined to comment and directed all questions to the House masters.

The HoCo briefly considered cancelling the formal altogether, Hafrey said, but accepted the entertainment license so the formal could take place.

The dispute over licensing follows hard on the heels of last weekend’s break-up of Mather Lather—the foam party held in honor of pre-frosh weekend.

After a tutor called HUPD to ask for assistance with crowd control, HUPD officers broke up the party while Cambridge Police officers looked on.

Hafrey said that that the License Commission’s actions were likely in direct response to Mather Lather.

“It is fair to say that Mather Lather did contribute to the licensing commission’s decision,” Hafrey said.

Students complained that a connection between the two events was unfair.

“We feel that we are being ganged up on by the City of Cambridge because of the Lather and they are trying to get back at us now by denying a liquor license,” said Mather resident Ari D. Brettman ’04.

After learning of the licensing problems late Friday morning, Hafrey said he contacted College officials in University Hall to inform them of the situation and request assistance.

That afternoon, according to Hafrey, a three-way phone conversation took place between the Mather House masters and representatives from the General Counsel’s office and the College administration.

Hafrey declined to discuss details of the coversation, but he said that certain matters were left unresolved and will be discussed later this week.

Senior Director of Community and Government Relations Mary H. Power said she had not yet spoken with Cambridge officials about the matter, but she noted that her office received a phone call from a member of the licensing commission on Friday.

The city hosted an impromptu hearing, which was attended by several members of the Mather HoCo, Hafrey said.

In a last ditch effort to smooth over the licensing problems Hafrey said he himself went to the licensing office, but he was unable to resolve the issue.

Hafrey stressed that if time had permitted, the controversy likely could have been worked out to everybody’s satisfaction before the formal.

Despite the absense of liquor, Hafrey said the formal would be a success.

“A significant portion of Mather House residents would not be drinking anyway,” he said. “That fact combined with house spirit leads me to believe that people are not terribly upset.”

Brettman agreed that the formal would live up to its promise.

“The average Mather resident is pretty resourceful and will find their own ways of providing themselves with drink and the formal will be nonetheless fun,” he said.

And the Mather HoCo sent an e-mail to the House Saturday night promising to help provide residents with what they needed to “increase Mather spirits.”

—Staff writer Ella A. Hoffman can be reached at

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