The senior class officers have decided to not offer the usual open bar at the March 1 Senior Cocktails event after disorderly conduct at October’s event caused the bus company to cancel its contract with the University.
“We changed the drinking situation and it will vary from event to event,” said Senior Class President Rashida Richardson ’08. “One of the main problems was with cocktails, not just with our class but in general, is that people drink beforehand and we can only control the alcohol consumption at the actual event. We want to provide [alcohol] to people without having them get belligerently drunk.”
Instead of the two mixed drinks and unlimited beer and wine that were offered at the October event, each senior will receive three drink tickets to be used for beer, wine or a mixed drink.
This decision was made by the senior class officers with the guidance of Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development Tim Shiner. Shiner said there was no pressure from the University’s administration.
“I believe it’s been a long time coming,” Shiner said. “There’s just been a lot of risk from a personal wellness and safety viewpoint as well as liability. When you have an event called ’Senior Cocktails’ where unlimited alcohol is being served, there are clearly a lot of issues there.”
Jeff Wong ’08 questioned this new decision.
“As far as the alcohol goes, I think that giving us only three drink tickets could possibly backfire, because people will pre-game that much more beforehand,” Wong said.
Shiner acknowledged this concern, and said that fear was part of the reason why the event will be held earlier in the evening, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. There will also be more food available.
Shiner noted that he and the senior class officers are still discussing the alcohol plan for the April event.
“In all likelihood, it won’t be the same situation,” Shiner said. “Potentially in April there will be no drink tickets and just an open bar with beer and wine.”
Another major change to the program will be the transportation to and from the events. Previously, students were driven in yellow school buses, but after the company cancelled its contract, the senior class officers were forced to hire coach buses that cost considerably more. As a result, the senior class won’t be offered a refund for the cancelled December event if students keep the passes purchased last fall.
“Previously we were paying about $2,200 to $2,500 for the buses for the night,” Shiner explained. “Under this new system, with only a coach bus company being willing to work with us, we’re paying about $9,000.”
In an e-mail sent by the senior class officers on Tuesday, Feb. 12, students were told they could opt out of their passes and only pay $40, the cost of October event they already attended. If students choose to keep their passes, they will be charged the full $190.
Additionally, the senior class officers will not sell any individual event passes, but there will be a “select amount of senior week passes available at the end of the semester, for individuals interested in attending the senior week events, but who did not buy a pass or chose the opt-out option,” according to the e-mail.
When asked to elaborate on the number of senior week passes that will be available, Shiner said it has yet to be determined.
“My recommendation would be that we do not limit the number of passes available,” he said. “However, these events are generally more expensive, totally between $120 and $130 for the three events. If a student elected to purchase this and the $40 from the fall event, they would be saving very little.”
As of Thursday evening, 32 students had already opted out.
“I think everyone I know is going to take the refund and with this new information, most of the seniors will not be interested anymore in these events,” said Marty Schapiro ’08. “I think the whole point of Senior Cocktails is that it’s fun to go with my friends, and if my friends are taking the refund, I’m going to, too.”
Students have until next Monday, Feb. 18 at 11:59 p.m. to decide whether they will opt out of the program.