House Rules

house rules

The guiding principle of being in residence at Mather is to be considerate of others in the community. Simply put, you may not unreasonably disrupt your neighbors’ lives. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the guidelines and regulations outlined below and those in the College’s Handbook for Students. Particular attention should be given to the Handbook sections regarding noise, smoking, guests, and security. If you have questions about any of these topics, please consult a member of the House administration.

Disciplinary actions within the House include warning, admonition, probation, and requirement to leave the House. Ordinarily, a written warning from the Masters to a student would precede a requirement to leave the House. This warning will clearly identify the student’s misbehavior, the Masters’ right to require the student to leave the House, and the steps the student must take to remain in residence. Should the student be unable or unwilling to remedy the situation, and should the student continue to behave in a manner that is detrimental to the well-being of the House community, then the Masters, in consultation with the Dean of the College, may require the student to leave the premises even though he or she may continue to be enrolled in the College. A student required to leave a House for disciplinary reasons will not ordinarily have the opportunity to return to a College residence.

The Masters and the Resident Dean trust that your good judgment and consideration for others will keep the unpleasant business of rule enforcement to a minimum; however, violations of the guidelines below may result in disciplinary action by the House and/or the College.


Drinking Age: Massachusetts law and College policy prohibit procurement or distribution of alcohol by anyone under 21 and provision of alcohol to anyone under 21.

Public Spaces: Consumption of alcohol is not allowed in Mather’s public spaces except during authorized parties when an approved carding mechanism is in place. BATs (Beverage Authorization Teams) or other person(s) authorized by the Masters must ensure that underage individuals do not consume alcohol. Any space outside of a private suite is considered public space at Mather. This includes, but is not limited to, the Dining Hall, the Big TV Room, the JCR, the Small TV Room, hallways in the tower and lowrise, and the courtyard.

Kegs: All kegs brought or delivered to Mather must be registered with the Office of the Resident Dean and may only be procured by a student who is of age and residing in the House. This individual is legally responsible for the alcohol, its safekeeping, and its distribution. This individual is also responsible for returning the keg to the store or for its disposal. Kegs may be brought into the House only for a registered party specifically for use during that event.

Parties In Public Spaces

Only House Councils and approved College student groups may host events in public spaces in the House. Mather’s HoCo should contact the House Masters and the Resident Dean about registering their events. The Office of the Resident Dean has copies of the House Event Registration Form (also available on the main Mather website), and the document Managing Events with Alcohol (also available on the Office of Student Life website).

To register a student group event in a public space in the House, students first should ask the approval of the Masters for the event, then check that the Mather space is available for their event. Once they have taken these two steps, students should go to the Undergraduate Student Organization Database ( and click on the portal to start the process for registering their event. This portal also contains important guidelines about registering these events. Students will need again to secure the House’s approval of the event, as part of the registration process.

Private Parties/Social Celebrations

Goals of private party registration:

  • To promote socialization at Mather.
  • To help plan private events considering the Mather community and Harvard College and State Alcohol Policies.
  • To reduce harm from alcohol poisoning by being responsible hosts.
  • To promote bystander intervention and training.

A private party or social celebration must be registered with the Resident Dean’s Office if it is

  • A gathering of three times the number of suite residents, or more, without alcohol
  • A gathering of two times the number of suite residents, or more, with alcohol

If you are uncertain about whether to register your gathering, talk the Resident Dean’s Office.

Registration Rules

  • All current residents of a suite must be listed on the form. Suitemates who are studying abroad or otherwise away for the term do not need to be listed.
  • Completed party registration forms are due by 3pm Monday to Thursday for parties on the same day, and by noon on Friday for all weekend parties. Deadlines are firm, so advance submissions are encouraged. Fast Pass parties may be registered on the night of the event.
  • If all suite members cannot sign this form by the registration deadline, the host is responsible for emailing the residents of the suite, the entryway tutor, and the Assistant to the Resident Dean confirming if each suite member is present, absent, or hosting. This email is due at the same time as the party form.
  • Properly trained hosts can use the Mather Fast Pass online registration system. ( In order to obtain Fast Pass privileges to register parties online, at least half of a student's suite must attend the Mather Fast Pass course at the beginning of each semester)

General Hosting Rules

  • The host(s) of a party must be a resident of the suite in which the party is being held. You cannot host a party in another student’s suite.
  • The host(s) must be present for the entire party, monitor the party for crowd control, noise level, guest safety.
  • All aspects of a private suite party must stay within the suite. A party may not spill into the hallway or into another suite connected through a shared bathroom.
  • A party is by invitation only and may not be advertised. This helps with crowd control and provides a safe venue for your guests.
  • Tutors will check in at least once during the party by knocking on the door, asking for the host, and observing if things are in good order and in compliance with College and House policies, as well as state law.
  • If there are concerns about the party, the Tutor will speak with the host(s) about the concerns, require that the host(s) resolve the concerns, and recheck the party in about 15 minutes. If the concerns are not resolved the Tutor will shut down the party.
  • Quiet hours begin at 11pm on weekdays and 2am on weekends; parties must end by the start of quiet hours.
  • If there are violations of College or Mather House policies, the host(s) will be contacted and held responsible.

Private Parties with Alcohol

  • Students hosting a party with alcohol must be 21 years of age.
  • The host(s) will be responsible for checking IDs and ensuring there is no underage drinking.
  • The host(s) will not initiate or permit dangerous drinking, or any form of competitive alcohol consumption.
  • Non-alcoholic beverages and substantial food must be served throughout the party the entire time alcoholic beverages are being served. If you run out of non-alcoholic beverages and food you must immediately stop serving alcoholic beverages.
  • Kegs must be registered

Reminder: Forms for weekend parties are due by 12pm on Friday. No exceptions so plan ahead!

Private Party/Social Celebration form download:



  • HUPD : 617-495-1212
  • Mather Tutor-On-Call: 617-331-9510
  • Mather Security Guard: 617-495-4829
  • UHS: 617-495-5711


Recycle all SOLO cups, cans and bottles (i.e. plastic, aluminum, and glass). Remember to empty all containers and leave the caps off (but recycle the caps).
Encourage attendees to bring their own cup or mug. Alternatively, try to have people just use one cup and buy cups made of recycled material. Have a marker so people can label their cups.
Strategically place bins or bags for collection. It usually helps to have trash and recycling next to each other, but clearly labeled (even with samples of what goes in) to avoid communication and save you time sorting later.
Buy items in bulk rather than individually wrapped.
Serve finger food - pre-sliced fruit, cake, etc so people can just grab and go without needing plates/knives etc.
Buy local and/or organic food. Look for recycled content plates and napkins.


  • Having a dance party? Be sure to provide lots of drinks like water and PowerAde to stay hydrated on the dance floor.
  • Food runs out fast at parties…be sure to stock up. Pizza is always a big hit.
  • If you choose to drink, know what’s in your drink and how strong it is.
  • The best way to cure a hangover? Stop it before it starts by drinking lots of water while partying.


Students may bring an intoxicated or drug-impaired friend to UHS or to a hospital, or seek assistance from College residential life staff or HUPD, and by doing this, neither the student nor the friend will face disciplinary action from the College for having used or provided alcohol or drugs.

When in doubt, take the person to UHS

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One serving of alcohol equals

How many servings of alcohol in:

12 oz. of beer

5 oz. of wine

1.5 oz of hard liquor

Half barrel keg of beer (15.5 gallons) = 160 servings

1 bottle of wine = 5 servings

1 bottle of champagne = 6 champagne flute servings

1 regular bottle of hard liquor = 17 1.5 oz servings


Two non-alcoholic beverage servings available for every serving of alcohol seems like a reasonable goal.

All sources of alcohol that require a tap are being reported directly to the Cambridge Police Department for tracking purposes. At the point of purchase, you will fill out a registration form for the City of Cambridge. This represents a city-wide effort to curb underage and high-risk drinking; there could be serious implications for you and the College if the Cambridge Liquor Commission or other law enforcement agency tracks illegal service of alcohol to the keg registered in your name. Registration of a keg with Mather House is a separate effort to maintain community safety and it does not shield you from Cambridge’s policies. House and College responses to keg and other alcohol violations have no connection to the city’s penalties for serving minors.

Good Neighbors

Student housing in general, and Mather's architecture in particular, increases the importance of being a good neighbor. More than 400 individuals are living together in the House and sharing walls, halls, landings, and stairwells. Please keep in mind that your activities, behavior, and decisions may have an impact on every other member of the community. Also, everyone is expected to do their part for maintaining the security, cleanliness, and good order of the House. Lastly, being a good neighbor means trying to resolve problems with others politely and being receptive to such efforts.

Noise: Quiet hours will be enforced after 11:00 PM on Sunday-Thursday nights and after 2:00 AM on Saturday and Sunday mornings. These rules apply to televisions, stereos, radios, and musical instruments (including voices), none of which should ever be loud enough to disturb others in their suites. If you are disturbed by loud noise or music, call or visit the source of disruption and discuss the problem. If the problem persists, your entryway tutor is available to mediate, as well as the Resident Dean. Please remember that each of us is mutually obligated to respond to complaints of noise by quieting down and turning off loud music.

Smoking: Mather is smoke free, so thank you for not smoking in the buildings or the court yard. Smoking or the burning of any substance (e.g., candles, incense) is prohibited in all indoor areas of Mather. This includes all residential and common areas. Like noise, smoke travels and can disturb your neighbors. Unlike noise, smoke is a fire hazard and smoking or burning substances violates College policies. There is ample covered space in Mather’s courtyard away from entrances; therefore, inclement weather is not an excuse for smoking indoors. If you smell smoke inside Mather, please contact a member of the House administration (e.g., Resident Tutor, Building Manager, Security Guard) immediately so the source can be identified. Any burning substance in the building represents a fire hazard and all residents should take responsibility for the safety of the community. [NOTE: The use of candles for religious purposes must be approved by the Masters. Guidelines are available in the Handbook for Students.]

Tampering with Fire Safety Equipment: Fire alarms pulled and extinguishers discharged without just cause pose unacceptable dangers, and expenses for the Mather community: hundreds of people must evacuate the building (including those who are disabled), often late at night and in bad weather; senseless acts like this increase the danger of any future emergencies by causing people to react to alarms with less urgency; and, Mather loses hundreds of dollars in fines for false alarms and costs of cleaning up extinguisher residue. Individuals triggering a false alarm (e.g. discharging an extinguisher) are subject to a fine of $500 or one year in jail. Please be vigilant about protecting the House’s community.

Keys and ID Cards: If you lose your keys and/or ID card, notify HUPD immediately. Anyone who finds your ID can gain entrance to Mather at any time until your ID number is deleted from the system; likewise, anyone with your keys can gain access to your suite. [NOTE: It is illegal to make copies of coded keys. Doing so compromises the security of the building and, in turn, everyone’s safety.]

Guests: Students may have guests staying overnight for a total of ten nights per semester, for not more than two consecutive nights. For security purposes, you should always register guests with the Building Manager’s Office and your entryway tutor(s) so that the House staff knows there will be an unfamiliar face around Mather.

Trash: Trash bags are available in the Building Manager’s Office. No trash or dirty dishes should be left in entrances, hallways, or landings. If you take your meal out of the dining hall, return your tray and dishes promptly after you have finished. All trash from private suites should be bagged and deposited in the white containers located in designated areas: the tower basement near the elevator; the basement of A-Entry; and, the closet down a half flight from B-Entry’s first-floor door. (There is no container in C-Entry so please use one of the other nearby areas.)

Recycling: Mather has a tradition of active recycling. Please join the effort to minimize our collective impact on the environment by depositing your paper and plastic recyclables in the blue recycling bins located near the trash areas. If you recycle, make sure to follow the posted guidelines for what can and cannot be placed in a given bin.

Notices and Posters: Posters not larger than 11x17 that are sponsored by officially recognized Harvard organizations may be placed on entryway bulletin boards and on appropriate bulletin boards in common areas. Please observe the subject headings of these bulletin boards and advertise only one poster per board. Posters may not be placed on walls, windows, support beams, or doors. Official House events and announcements (e.g., Masters’ Open Houses, academic/language dinner tables, SCR events) are advertised on entryway doors and the handrails of common areas on the day of the event; these areas are reserved solely for official House notices in order to facilitate the timely communication of information pertinent to all Mather affiliates. All posters have to have a Mather approval stamp or they will be removed. Posters must be removed after the event is finished.

Building Manager’s office

Items Banned by the College and/or Building Manager
The following items are not permitted in Mather:
1) Pets of any kind
2) Waterbeds
3) Halogen lamps
4) Cooking appliances of any kind (except HSA-distributed microwave/refrigerator combos)

Lockouts: During business hours (8:00 AM to 4:00 PM), the Building Manager will let you into your room. From 4:00 PM until 8:00 AM seven days a week, the Security Guard will let you into your room. During the day on weekends and holidays, the Tutor-on-Call will let you into your room, though you might have to wait if he/she is away from Mather when you call. Contact information will be posted on the door of the Building Manager’s Office and you can use the call box on the front gate.

Vacuum Cleaners:
You can borrow a vacuum cleaner in the Building Manager’s Office. There is a half-hour loan period. Please return the vacuum cleaner in a timely fashion and report any malfunctions so that it will be available to other members of the House.

Summer Storage:
Schedules will be posted in the spring for storing (April) and removing (August) your belongings. Only students returning in August can store items over the summer. There is no storage available during the academic year. Storing items at Mather is done solely at the owner’s risk. Neither Mather nor the College can take responsibility for either damage to or theft of your property. Make sure that all of your belongings are insured through your family’s insurance policy.