For years, students have dedicated one Saturday night each September to stumbling down the porn-plastered halls of the Eclectic Society house, wearing nothing but lingerie and tighty-whities. Despite the sex tent, outrageous dancing, and the unfortunate photos uploaded the following morning, starting this year, the generations of students who took part in Eclectic’s famous annual event will have only memories of these events: the Sex Party is no more.
“It was getting out of hand, and we were having a problem on a regular basis,” said Director of Public Safety (PSafe) Dave Meyer. “We worked very closely with the students living at Eclectic for many years to have adequate security at the event, but there were numerous problems. The venue just could not hold the number of people that wanted to be there.”
Although the Eclectic House has a capacity of 300, the Sex Party draws crowds as large as 700 people, and forces the University to hire additional police officers to man the event. The popularity of the party made it a tiring night even for its organizers, said Meyer.
“Running the sex party is a nightmare,” added Eclectic Social Chair Sam Lyons ’12. “It’s impossible to keep it under control, and last year it was just chaos. I feel like it was always an assumption that it wasn’t fun for us. I feel like I can speak on behalf of the [Eclectic] Society at large in that we sort of appreciated a fresh start.”
Additionally, according to Lyons and Eclectic President Tom Brewer ’12, a significant altercation took place during last year’s Sex Party, in which one student may have attacked a PSafe officer.
“People were just unruly, naked and wasted,” Brewer said. “Additionally, a lot of people have been going to the hospital during or post Sex Party, and there have been allegations of sexual harassment. The administration, especially Tim Shiner, has been helpful to us, and hasn’t given us a hard time at all. They’ve had a difficult time dealing with the Sex Party, understandably, and made that decision—absolutely never again.”
Assistant Director of Student Life Scott Backer confirmed that these issues factored into the decision to end the Sex Party tradition.
“We have had reports of alleged violations of the Code of Non-Academic Conduct that have come up before, during, and after that party,” he said. “More than anything else, it’s really an alcohol-fueled issue.”
Backer also noted that the theme of the party was a cause for concern.
“I think the other problem was the messaging and the environment that the Sex Party created,” he said. “I’ve never been to the party, but the illusion of what might potentially happen there seems to be what drew a large number of students to the event. It could potentially be construed as a hostile environment by some people, and this created a lot of concern about the negative implications of that event.”
Brewer too acknowledged the troubling environment the Sex Party created.
“It’s disgusting,” he said. “I was running a DJ set while the riot was happening [last year], and I had to step over two couples having sex on the dance floor. It’s pretty shocking. Obviously inpart, it’s our bad for encouraging that, but you have to know the limits of reasonable behavior. It was a lot of handle.”
At the end of a unique era, both Eclectic and the administration appear to be in agreement that the Sex Party has outlived its glory.
“In part, the reason I personally mourn the death of the Sex Party is that it’s been around for a long time, at least a decade or so, and it’s sad to see something that’s such a reason Eclectic is well known nationally… well, it’s sad to see it go,” he said. “But it was definitely a god awful mess last year. I didn’t go as a freshman, and last year I was kind of taken aback. It’s really different to actually be in the midst of this oversexed drunk-ass freshman mess.”