ASA Groups, Deans Discuss Party BanBy David D. Hsu
Representatives from over a dozen student groups met Tuesday with administrators to discuss the current ban on events at MIT and to offer suggestions on how to improve safety at future events.
On-campus parties that are large, take place late at night, and involve non-MIT students fall under the moratorium, which was instituted in December after a Northeastern University student was shot outside of a party at Walker Memorial.
Dean for Student Life Margaret R. Bates said that no specific timetable has been set for the removal of the moratorium; only that the administration will move as rapidly as possible.
It is unlikely that groups with events scheduled before March 1 will hold their events, said Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities Margaret A. Jablonski. In March, large events may be gradually phased back, but will be probably be forced to comply with additional regulations.
"We also don't want a ban," Jablonski said. However, at this point the ban is necessary. If Senior House's Spring Steer Roast were scheduled for February, for example, it would also have been cancelled, she said.
The administration would like to control the number of people attending events, Bates said.
In five incidents at parties since 1987, the instigators generally were people outside the Boston college community, said Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin. Since admission to events is limited, a crowd often would develop outside a party with the expectation of being admitted, which is what happened at the December party.
Advanced ticket sales a possibility
The administration is seriously considering advanced ticket sales as a method of controlling crowds, Jablonski said.
Such sales would require that people buy tickets ahead of time or just that tickets be sold at a location different from the event, Bates said.
Other colleges may be persuaded to sell tickets to non-MIT college students who wish to attend MIT parties, said Director of the Campus Activities Complex Phillip J. Walsh.
Students at the forum said that advanced ticket sales would be inconvenient for MIT and college students and would hurt overall attendance at the events.
Advanced ticket sales would be a hard trend to start, said Craig M. Robinson '96, president of Chocolate City. A possible compromise could be differentiated ticket prices - advanced tickets would be sold at a lower price than tickets at the door.
Police presence pondered
Several students mentioned that an increased police presence would help. Increasing the number of Campus Police officers will not be a total solution, Glavin said. If one more officer was added, that may not make a fundamental difference.
"How many police is enough police?" Glavin said. At the same time, MITshould try to stop from becoming an "armed camp."
The party organizers may have to be more visible at the events, Jablonski said. The role of MITstaff at a party is also being considered. At Northeastern University, parties have several staff members around.
The use of Walker Memorial is also being evaluated, Walsh said. Walker's numerous entrances make it a hard building to secure, so Walker may become off-limits to events.
Students also suggested a gradual closing of a party: People could not be admitted past a certain time, drinks would stop being served at another time.
Students suggested that Campus Police train party organizers in basic crowd control techniques.
Student reaction was generally positive to the forum. "I appreciated the effort demonstrated by the administration," Robinson said. The forum was a comfortable, open setting for students to discuss the moratorium.
The administration will talk with housemasters and other deans before coming up with a proposal, Bates said. Student groups will have an opportunity to critique the proposals.