Mather Bans Hard Alcohol in Junior Common Room

During a year in which the safety and accessibility of the College’s social scene has dominated campus conversation, a new policy in Mather House outlaws residents from consuming hard alcohol in the Junior Common Room, a space students often use to host parties.

The changes— implemented by Mather House masters Christie McDonald and Michael D. Rosengarten, as well as Mather’s Resident Dean Luke Leafgren—aim to make parties “safer” in Mather, according to Leafgren.

When events include hard alcohol, students have the option to get “a lot more drunk, a lot more quickly," Mather House Committee co-Chair Avni Nahar ’17 said. She added that the policy's creators hope to appease House staff by reducing the chance that unsafe drinking occurs—and, by extension, potentially decrease the likelihood of sexual assault.

Nahar said students were not consulted prior to the decision to ban hard alcohol, but after she and her co-Chair Trevor A. Mullin ’17 requested student input, Leafgren held a meeting Sunday afternoon to discuss the changes.

“Students think that hard alcohol does play a role in the social scene at Harvard,” she said, adding that not all Mather residents completely agreed with the ban.


The change comes on the heels of a recent initiative in Cabot House to expedite party registration procedures in an effort to strengthen social life within the House. Cabot House co-Master and Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana has prioritized promoting social life in the Houses throughout his deanship.

Mather House offers a “Fast Pass” party registration process similar to the Cabot initiative, and outside of those two Houses, administrators have made efforts to promote partying on Harvard property.

In October, women groups at the College threw a school-wide party, which administrators have lauded as an example of an inclusive social event.

“The HoCo strives to make safe and inclusive social spaces, and make choices that prioritize student safety and provide an outlet for social interaction,” Mullin said. “We will continue to promote a safe environment by not providing high grade alcohol.”

Per Harvard policy, Houses are not permitted to provide students with hard liquor except for formals, meaning the policy change in Mather primarily affects those wishing to hold private events in the JCR. The House Committee sometimes uses the room for social events.

Leafgren said students’ reaction to the changes— which solely McDonald, Rosengarten, and himself made—have been “mixed.”

—Staff writer Jalin P. Cunningham can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @JalinCunningham.

—Staff writer Ignacio Sabate can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ignacio_sabate


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