HoCos Adapt to Alcohol Policy

Committees struggle to adjust formal plans

In the wake of the College’s recent announcement banning hard alcohol from off-campus House events, House Committees have been forced to reevaluate plans for their rapidly-approaching spring formals.

Both Kirkland and Quincy Houses—which intend to hold their formals off-campus this year—have been forced to modify their formal plans after negotiating with venues under the assumption that hard alcohol would be served.

The initial contract for Quincy’s Spring Formal—known as the Q-Ball—included hard alcohol and was preliminarily approved by the Office of Student Life, according to Quincy HoCo co-chair Neil T. Curran ’12. About a week later, the Office of Student Life told Quincy House Master Lee Gehrke their contract had to be revised to reflect the change in policy.

“It was a surprise to my House Masters,” said Ling Lin, the other Quincy HoCo Co-Chair, who is also a Crimson design editor.

According to Lin, Quincy, which will hold its formal at the Harvard Club of  Boston, has used a similar contract for years, and the Masters expected that the contract would not pose a problem.


Following the College’s policy change announcement, Quincy modified its contract to reflect the new regulations. The money originally allocated towards the purchase of hard alcohol will now be redirected towards buying “better food” for the formal, according to Curran.

Although Quincy has finalized its formal plans, the status of Kirkland’s formal—to be held at the New England Aquarium—remains uncertain while Kirkland HoCo co-chairs and their House Masters talk to the administration about the new policy.

Although nothing in the House’s contract with the venue specifically states that hard alcohol will be served, the contract sets the baseline drink price at $6 per drink—typically the price of a drink containing hard alcohol.

Juan P. Munoz ’12, a Kirkland HoCo co-chair, said last Thursday that he received an email that day informing him that Kirkland’s formal could not serve hard alcohol.

Munoz’s fellow co-chair K. Abby Koff ’12, who is also a Crimson photo editor, said that given such short notice, it would be difficult for Kirkland to modify its contract.

“Changing our contract isn’t a feasible option because we had to go through months of negotiating,” she said.

Kirkland also risks losing money if the House is unable to renegotiate with the venue.

“The baseline price [for wine and beer] would probably be around $3 or $4. Multiply $2 by 500 and suddenly it’s $1000 you’re losing,” Koff said.

Administrators have indicated that they intend to work with HoCos to help them adapt to the new policies.

“The Office of Student Life is currently reaching out to every HoCo that has signed a contract with an off- campus venue to determine what, if any, contractual ramifications might arise from the alcohol policy,” FAS Spokesperson Jeff Neal wrote in a emailed statement.

Administrators banned all liquor except beer and wine and mandated that staff check student IDs at all House events as part of a larger push by Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds to enforce alcohol policy in a more uniform manner throughout the Houses.

—Staff writer Monika L.S. Robbins can be reached at                                                             —Staff writer Hana N. Rouse can be reached at