Plan to Lift Party Ban Nearly FinalBy Stacey E. Blau
Several key administrators are in the process of combing through a final draft of a proposal that would end the current moratorium on large parties.
"We hope we can move toward a pilot program situation" to see how large parties will work with some new provisional safety measures in place, said Dean for Student Life Margaret R. Bates.
Parties would function as trials for a variety of different possible safety measures which are currently under discussion, Bates said.
"I don't think we're going to have radical changes" in the way parties take place, Bates said. The pilot parties will simply enable "us to see which measures are working and which aren't."
Under the pilot program, party organizers "would do exactly what they do normally to apply" to have a party, Bates said. "We're really trying to move toward a regular situation."
Large events could be taking place within a month, Bates said.
The moratorium on large parties has been in effect since the December shooting of a Northeastern University student at an Alpha Phi Alpha party at Walker Memorial.
The shooting prompted a decision by Chief of Police Anne P. Glavin, Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities Margaret A. Jablonski, and the Campus Activities Complex to cancel all large late-night functions with alcohol and non-MIT students at least until the early spring.
Bates, Glavin, Jablonski, Director of the Office of Minority Education Leo Osgood, and Director of the CAC Phillip J. Walsh have been working to develop the new plan, which should be finalized sometime next week, Bates said.
Plan will use a variety of options
The new plan will propose a variety of options for consideration, Bates said.
The measures used "will vary with the particular event," but they will be "a series of things that as a whole are an appropriate mix" of options, Bates said.
The specific options will be finalized in the report next week.
CP presence "is clearly one of the items that has been raised by students," Walsh said.
"Metal detectors will continue to be an option we use," Walsh said. Party organizers have often asked for them because they provide "an enhanced sense of security."
The group is also looking at different possibilities for ticket sales - including advanced ticket sales and sales at locations other than the party - "to reduce the crush at the door" and to make it more difficult for outsiders to purchase tickets, Bates said. "We certainly want to develop that as an option."
The group is looking to present "a repertoire of options we can utilize," and to recognize that different groups will have different needs, Walsh said.
"We hope there will be more discussion" on the options once they are presented, Bates said.
To get input on changes, the group has held an open meeting with the Association of Student Activities, spoken to police at other area universities, and met with student government groups, housemasters, and legal counsel.
Pilot will get parties back on track
After the shooting, "there was a need to pull back and examine the environment in which parties take place," Walsh said.
"The moratorium was not the most pleasant of things to happen in the middle of the year," Walsh said. The new program is aimed at "allowing large functions to really get back on track."
"April is a particularly busy month" for large events, he said.
Approximately 25 events were canceled because of the moratorium, although "some of those may have been somewhat soft in their planning," Walsh said.
Christina Chu contributed to the reporting in this story.