Due to safety concerns, this year’s Eclectic Society Halloween party will not be hosted in the Eclectic house. Instead, a group of students and administrators have chosen MoCon as the replacement location for the event.
“A variety of offices had voiced concerns about the major parties held at Eclectic,” said Director of Public Safety David Meyer. “It’s primarily an issue of the number of people attending versus the size of the venue.”
The only campus venue larger than Eclectic, MoCon has a capacity of 500 people, more than Eclectic’s capacity of 299. MoCon also only has one entrance, which is logistically easier to handle for security purposes.
The Office of Student Activities is shouldering the brunt of the cost of holding the party at MoCon, most of which is going into decorations.
Eclectic typically holds three large parties at the society’s house each year: the Sex Party, the Halloween Party and the Valentine’s Day Party. Meyer listed a number of problems with using the house for such well-attended events.
“Eclectic has multiple entrances, which makes it very difficult for security to monitor the number of people coming and going, and keep numbers within the limits set by fire-safety regulations,” he said. “We have also had problems with attendees that don’t have tickets finding alternative—and often unsafe—ways to get in.”
These concerns turned into decisive action after Eclectic’s last major event, the Sex Party, during which the house sustained some damage and rowdy party-goers acted belligerently towards the staff and security officers on duty.
“We were contacted by Dave Meyer,” said Eclectic President Janine Criscuolo ’07. “And since the Sex Party we have had several meetings with Public Safety, Physical Plant, ResLife, and the Office of Student Activities to discuss resolving safety issues. We agreed to move the Halloween Party to another venue on a trial basis.”
Eclectic officers expressed disappointment about the decision to host the party at MoCon, but claim that they remain committed to safety on campus while contributing to the campus social scene.
“Eclectic provides a very unique space, and we don’t know MoCon that well,” said Eclectic Vice President Hunter Craighill ’09.“We will have to work harder to make it a fun environment. But Eclectic generally has really good parties, and we love bringing these events to campus.” Others felt likewise, questioning whether the Halloween Party would have the same Eclectic feel.
“It doesn’t quite feel like our party anymore, since our house members can’t be as active in their participation, but we are still going to put 100 percent of our effort into organizing it,” said House Manager Helena Fang ’08.
At the same time, Eclectic members highlighted the need for better safety regulations during events for the sake of the house as well as party attendees. Eclectic’s building regularly sustains significant damage after large parties, the cost of which is shared among residents.
In addition, providing security for large events can be complicated and costly. Roughly 20 hired staff members provided security during the last Sex Party, including two Middletown police officers, Dave Meyer, and administrators. Still, the premises were deemed unsafe. Three students at the party were found to be dangerously inebriated and were taken to the hospital.
In the past, Eclectic has worked in conjunction with Public Safety to try to increase security and safety measures. Attempted strategies have included increased event staff, higher quality wristbands, and not letting attendees re-enter once they have left the party.
“We have had a lot of people ask why Middletown police are at our parties,” Fang said. “We know that having officers around puts down the mood, but then again every time there’s some incident that happens.”
Despite the venue change for the Halloween Party, the administration has virtually confirmed that Eclectic can host the Valentine’s Day Party in the society’s house, according to Criscuolo. She also emphasized that the change certainly does not mean a termination of Eclectic parties.
“We recognize that MoCon is not the ideal venue, but we’re going to make this Halloween the bangingest party ever to be held at MoCon, and hopefully the last party we have to hold there,” Criscuolo said.
“We really want to work together with student organizations to provide a good and safe alternative for events,” said Meyer. “We will conduct a review after the upcoming Halloween Party to see how things went and how to proceed from there.”