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Party Cancelation After NU Shooting Distresses GAMIT

By Stacey E. Blau
News Editor

The only group to have a party canceled by the recent ban on large parties -- Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgenders and Friends at MIT -- feels that the cancelation is unfair and may have some detrimental effects on GAMIT, said Sarah L. Veatch '98, an organizer of the event.

The ban was prompted by the shooting early Saturday morning of a Northeastern University student outside an Alpha Phi Alpha party at Walker Memorial and trouble at a New House reception afterwards.

The ban, announced Saturday, was made by Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities Margaret A. Jablonski, Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin, and the Campus Activities Complex.

In general, on-campus parties that are large, take place late at night, and involve non-MIT students are banned. Fraternity, sorority, and independent living group parties will likely not be affected.

GAMIT was not consulted

Veatch said that GAMIT was not consulted about or told by the administration about the cancelation. "The way I found out about the cancelation was in The Tech," Veatch said.

"We have already put in tremendous amounts of work for this dance," she said.

"GAMIT has been working really hard with the administration this semester to make sure we're not constantly feeling like we're being hurt," she said.

The cancelation of the dance, a party geared towards gay women, will not only throw away all the work GAMIT has done but will be "a direct and homophobic blow to the MIT lesbian community on campus," said GAMIT publicity coordinator Adrian Banard '97.

The shooting at Walker was "a scary an important thing. But I don't really see how it's relevant to the GAMIT party," Veatch said.

GAMIT has been having several parties a year for the past decade with few problems from outsiders. "Any problems we did have were from harassment by MIT people," she said.

"Large parties with off-campus attendance are one of the few ways for MIT minority groups to create comfortable social spaces," Banard said. "I'm sure a number of other student groups are also going to be very upset if such parties are banned."

"It's kind of curious where the administration chooses to draw the line" when it decides which parties will be canceled, Veatch said. "I'm unsure why they go so far to let fraternities do what they want."

The cancelation of the party could have some damaging financial effects on GAMIT. "We might not be having another party in the spring. This party is how we make our money," Veatch said. "We've had trouble drawing crowds recently. The queer women's dance is our most popular event," she said.

Groups to meet over IAP

The offices responsible for the decision will be meeting with APAmembers next week to follow up as the incident, as is typical for such an occurrence, Jablonski said.

GAMIT did ask the groups to reconsider the decision, Jablonski said, but they could not.

The administration offered to "compensate them for the lost money that they already spent on advertising," she said.

The administration has said that the party might be possible if it is restricted to MIT and Wellesley students, Veatch said.

No parties that meet the metal detector requirements -- and thus would be canceled -- are scheduled until February, Jablonski said.

"We'll start meeting over IAP and see where we get" in terms of changing the policy permanently, she said.

Daniel C. Stevenson contributed to the reporting in this story.