College to demolish all CFS house bars by Sept. 16

by Andrew Marnell | 6/29/00 5:00am

In an announcement that elicited a mixture of surprise and outrage, Dean of Residential Life Martin Redman told Greek leaders on Tuesday night that all permanent bars and tap systems must be removed from their organizations' houses before Sept. 16.

The deadline comes as one of the first major mandates for coed fraternity and sorority houses as a result of the Initiative and has been put in place much more quickly than many expected.

Redman characterized the bar and tap removal as a major project, telling the approximately 50 members of the CFS system who attended the meeting that in some instances sledgehammers and jackhammers would be necessary for the demolition.

The College will pay for the bar and tap removal at each house; however, Redman said he expects some organizations to fund the removals themselves.

Eradicating a symbol

In an interview with The Dartmouth, Redman described this first change resulting from the Initiative as the removal of a strong symbol of alcohol from Greek houses.

The bars are "not on the same level as other pieces of property," Redman said. "It's not just a thing, it's more than that."

Redman added that the move is a consequence of a view by the Board of Trustees that "fraternities are on tap all the time."

In a draft document discussing the removals, Redman offered some suggestions about what sort of dividers may be used in the future to separate those serving beverages at parties from those receiving it.

In the document, the idea of a portable bar that would be located elsewhere when not in use was presented; members of the CFS community latched onto the idea Tuesday night, asking Redman for clarification of the definition of a "portable bar."

Redman told The Dartmouth he plans to consider bars which could be moved "with a reasonable amount of effort from point A to point B" as portable. He cited temporary serving stations used frequently at the Hanover Inn as an example.

He also said he was struggling with the issue of the removal of permanent bars outside the basement that were not generally used for alcohol service, but said he did not believe these would need to be removed.

"It's a use issue," Redman said. "Do students get beer there? If the answer is no, should I be concerned? Maybe not."

He added that, while tap systems must go, refrigerators without tap systems could be added to houses to store beer and other beverages and food items prior to registered events.

Summer term removal

Greek members at the Tuesday night meeting also expressed concern over the timeline for the removal, with many saying that it was unfair to remove the bars during the summer when only about half of an organization's membership is on campus.

At one point students voted almost unanimously to change the date of the removal to the end of Fall term, a change Redman characterized as possible but unlikely.

Redman said there were several issues that would make Fall term removal more difficult, citing a larger number of students living in many houses, as well as hiring contractors during the holidays as two major problems.

President of the Panhellenic Council, Anne Cloudman '02, said that she would prefer the removal take place this summer so that it would not interfere with rush during the fall.

"Physical structure factors into the decision that some girls make during rush," she said, "to have the house changing during rush could affect some people's decision."

Redman also said the process would take several weeks and that it would likely begin in mid-August.

Possible controversy

During the meeting at least one house announced that it would not be willing to comply with the College's policy regarding bar and tap removal. The leader of that house could not be reached for comment.

Redman told The Dartmouth that the College was serious about moving forward with this and that noncompliance could result in derecognition, though he said he doubted any situation would get to that point.

"Students should ask themselves what it is they're not willing to comply about," he said.

Redman said many students may be concerned more with the issue of alcohol service than with the physical bars being removed.

"We're not taking your beer away," Redman said. "We're taking your bar away."

Salvaging memorabilia

"Tradition and history need to be taken into account," Redman said. He repeatedly referred to bars carved with alumni members names as examples of items that houses may wish to salvage.

"We're willing to try and salvage what is within reason and what can reasonably be done," Redman said. He added, however, that the original construction would affect what could be saved.

Redman described specifically brick and stone bars which may have to be demolished with a sledgehammer or a jackhammer.

Redman said that while the College will attempt to sell any portions of the bar that organizations wish to be sold, he believes it will be unlikely that these items will fetch a high price at auction.

He said he does, however, expect that many alumni would be interested in purchasing portions of the bars.

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