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Partying On

The College should set its temporary endorsement of extended party hours in stone

By The Crimson Staff

The College administration has finally realized that getting undergraduates to stop partying at 1 a.m. is about as likely as getting government concentrators to do all of their section reading. Now that Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71 has extended party hours in the Houses to 2 a.m., students can shake it without worry of a resident tutor knocking on the door just an hour after midnight. This tentative change is long overdue—and it should remain permanent.

At a school where students stay up far past midnight on a regular basis, partygoers rarely just went to bed when parties ended too early—they searched for on-campus parties not yet shut down or sought out the nearest final club. Whatever their merits or problems, exclusive venues should never be the default destination for Harvard’s partygoers. Perhaps, with dorm parties allowed to last longer, such closed institutions will be less appealing to desperate would-be socialites in the undergraduate community.

Extended party hours also make it more likely that students will choose to register their parties with House officials. Party registration is technically required for all parties held in Harvard dorms, but many undergraduates flout the rule because they don’t want to be subject to restrictions and increased oversight. If the resident tutor doesn’t know there’s a party on, and he or she doesn’t find out about the unregistered gathering, then cheating the system has definite rewards—no party hours, no restrictions. But now that registered parties can last longer, resident tutors will find it easier to get their undergraduates to register, which can significantly improve party safety and reduce the liability of the party throwers.

Despite all this, the party hours extension will undoubtedly find its foes. Neighbors will worry that it will make things louder later, and the crochety-resident-tutor contingent will bemoan the added liberty. Yet after two weekends of extended party hours in six Houses, it looks as though the naysayers’ fears do not hold water. We hope that Gross will brush off such complaints and continue to recognize the importance of undergraduate social life by making this change permanent.

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