For now, students can continue to expect the usual large Friday night house parties on streets such as Fountain and Home Avenue, as the Social Event Registration Policy that requires registration only for parties of 50 or more students will remain in effect.
At the end of the last academic year, the Student Life Committee (SLC) voted to change the Social Event Registration Policy, so that students would be required to register parties with 25 or more attendees. This policy would specifically target wood-frame houses in which alcohol would be served, as wood-frame events that were not registered with Student Activities and Leadership Development (SALD) would increase the host’s liability if any underage drinkers attended the event.
However, members of the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) have spoken with the administration in order to delay the implementation of the revised policy.
“We got them [the administration] to postpone implementing it but promised to work with them for another policy,” said WSA President Matt Ball ’08. “We are looking at ways we can educate students and not just get them in trouble for the number of students at their house. We would just like some way of informing the students of liability.”
Many students were upset about the 25-person policy and felt that it targeted woodframe houses where the maximum capacity is 49. The revised policy would mean that students wouldn’t register woodframe house parties under the 50-person policy because they technically cannot have 50 people in their residences.
“Students didn’t like [the 25-person policy],” said Chair of the Student Affairs Committee (SAC), Mike Pernick ’10. “That’s why it is a great thing that the WSA convinced administrators not to put the policy into effect.”
Pernick also mentioned that many students did not realize that the policy was not in effect.
SALD Director Tim Shiner, who originally proposed the changes, wants students to be aware of the liability they take on when hosting parties and wants Public Safety to be aware of what is happening on campus. Shiner would like to see one student in every woodframe house undergo host training so that students become aware of liability.
“It was not our intent to bring it up at the last minute when no one could hear about it,” Shiner said. “I’m hoping we can come up with some compromise that works for everyone.”
Shiner reports that during the 2006-2007 academic year, 92 parties were registered. As of September 4, 2007, only one party has been registered for this academic year.
According to Director of Public Safety Dave Meyer, the party registration policy first began in the early 1990s in response to what he described as “bad incidents” on campus. Meyer first began working at Wesleyan 28 years ago, when the legal drinking age was 18.
“Party policy should be reviewed every few years; this is part of a natural review process…changes come over time here,” Meyer said.
Meyer reports that during warmer weather it’s not unusual for Public Safety to shut down a couple of parties every weekend.
Inslee Coddington ’10, who works directly with Meyer through the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), describes her job as “opening up a dialogue between PSafe and Wesleyan students.”
“We need more student input,” Coddington said. Two more members will be added to PSAC for this purpose.
“The WSA is committed to ensuring that students are inconvenienced as little as possible,” Pernick said.
According to Pernick, the SLC will hold a meeting at the end of September in order to discuss the 25-person policy.