UC May Rent Off-Campus Spaces

As costs for social events rise and social space is short on campus, the Undergraduate Council is considering renting off-campus spaces for large student events.

The UC unanimously passed a list of recommendations for social events, a topic that features prominently in many UC presidential candidates.

UC members have begun talking with administrators and would like to cooperate with the College Dean’s office to reserve and fund off-campus social spaces, especially the buildings at 45 Mt. Auburn St. and the Cambridge Center for Adult Education at 42 Brattle St. The UC is calling on the administration to reduce the costs of Beverage Authorization Team and Harvard University Police Department details, and to better coordinate events held in dining halls or during busy weekends.

Reiterating past recommendations made by a subcommittee last March, the UC is requesting that the College replace BAT and HUPD teams with event planners, open House common spaces to student groups, and standardize event registration processes within each House.

Student group leaders said they have struggled to fund and find spaces for events.

Black Men’s Forum President Sangu J. Delle ’10, who cosponsored the UC’s recommendations, said that his organization was unable to hold an event during Harvard-Yale weekend. He said current requirements for HUPD officers are “ridiculous.” Fees for HUPD details have risen this year from $46 to $70 per hour. He also called for an easier process to reserve spaces in Houses and for UC-led access to off-campus locations, which are already used by some groups.

UC President Matthew L. Sundquist ’09 said that the proposal to use off-campus spaces remains tentative and open to change. But he said that two off-campus spaces­—45 Mt. Auburn St., and the Cambridge Center for Adult Education—as well as the on-campus Malkin Athletic Center, would likely be available for the UC to rent.

At the off-campus locations, where alcohol could likely be served, BAT and HUPD teams would be unnecessary. The Cambridge Police Department would have jurisdiction, and each individual space’s rules would apply.

UC members have discussed the possibility of administration funding for off-campus spaces, but Associate Dean of Student Life and Activities Judith H. Kidd wrote in an e-mail that the College will not pay for off-campus sites.

Kidd said that she is open to talking to the UC about off-campus events, adding that they could be funded by money previously used for party grants, as several UC members have proposed.

The issue of off-campus social space is an important part of the platforms of many UC presidential candidates.

Presidential candidate and UC Finance Committee Chair Andrea R. Flores ’10, who was not a co-sponsor of the recent UC legislation, said that she is upset that she was not asked to be involved in the UC’s latest legislation. Sundquist said that he asked for participation from UC representatives in an e-mail.

Flores said that while she agrees with many of the recommendations, the legislation was rushed and should have been made with the cooperation of the entire Council.

UC presidential candidate and Student Affairs Committee Vice-Chair Benjamin P. Schwartz ’10, a cosponsor of the bill, said that the legislation shows that his ticket is “the only one that not only has ideas for social space but has already taken concrete action on it.”

—Staff writer Alex M. McLeese can be reached at