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Mather Amends Restrictions on Hard Alcohol in JCR

Mather administrators have walked back a policy banning hard alcohol in the House’s Junior Common Room, just weeks after notifying students of the decision.

Responding to strong pushback from students, House administrators have enacted a new policy that now allows for liquor as long as it is served by two bartenders over the age of 21.

Mather Faculty Dean Michael D. Rosengarten, pictured here, said the House modified rules on hard alcohol in the junior common room after consulting students.
Mather’s leadership said the reasons behind the change are twofold. First, Mather House Resident Dean Luke Leafgren said administrators made the original changes without adequate student input. Shortly after Mather implemented the hard alcohol ban, The Crimson’s editorial board penned an editorial criticizing the move, and wrote that in addition to lacking student support, the ban would likely encourage undergraduates to drink liquor in private spaces, posing more risk for unsafe consumption.

The hard alcohol ban would “discourage students from hosting parties [in the JCR] and work against the growing desire for a thriving, House-centered social experience,” the editorial said. “Alternative drinking spaces, such as students’ dorm rooms, pose much greater risk.”

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Mather Faculty Dean Michael D. Rosengarten said the House Committee had a large influence in revising the policy, and added the changes were also sparked in part by The Crimson's staff editorial and emails from concerned students.

“We understand that there are probably a million ways of getting hard alcohol into a party,” Rosengarten said. He added that the new policy acknowledges the role hard alcohol plays in social life, while also designating bartenders to ensure parties’ safety.

Al B. Corvah ’18, a member of Mather’s House Committee and an Undergraduate Council representative, agreed with Rosengarten that a ban would be ineffective.

“Kids could sneak hard alcohol into the JCR, which has been done a few times,” he said. “The other argument is that people would pregame with hard alcohol anyways, and you can’t control that.”

Rosengarten said the accommodation is one of many ways in Mather attempts to center students’ social life within the House—other initiatives include the “Fast Pass” party registration process and a sophomore orientation pilot program.

The move comes during a year in which the College’s social scene has dominated campus conversation. College administrators have rolled out numerous new efforts to promote social life in the Houses.

A new Cabot House initiative introduced this academic year allows students to bypass traditional party registration similar to Mather’s “Fast Pass,” and several Houses have created designated common spaces for social events.

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

—Staff writer Ignacio Sabate can be reached at ignacio.sabate@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter@ignacio_sabate

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