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Pilot Party Plan Implemented on A Permanent Basis

By Frank Dabek
staff reporteR

A decision to make permanent last spring's pilot program governing all large, late-night parties will mean that all such events will continue to be reviewed on a individual basis and that there will be an outright ban on parties at Walker Memorial.

The pilot plan - which permitted large parties on a case-by-case basis only - was implemented in the spring following the shooting of a Northeastern University student at a party at Walker last December.

Walker was banned as a place for large, late-night events because it is "a very, very difficult facility to secure," said Chief of Campus Police Anne P. Glavin. Securing all of its entrances and exits would require "a small army," she said.

"There is a limit to our people resources," Glavin said. Such duty would leave CPs "stretched far too thin."

About 32 events were scheduled for Morss Hall at Walker, said Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities Margaret A. Jablonski. About 25 were moved to other locations which are more easily secured like the Student Center.

However, a series of events for the Sloan School of Management that has been granted an exception.

Even though the Sloan events draw more than 250 people, because there are cultural presentations and faculty attend, providing what Glavin called "adult supervision," the parties were allowed to be held at Walker.

"Almost all of the scheduling problems have been resolved," said Dean for Student Life Margaret R. Bates. Four or five events, however, could not be accommodated. Among these is a dance in December organized by Gays, Lesbians, Transgenders, and Friends at MIT.

Pilot program permanent

Administrators were content with the results of the pilot party program and made the decision to continue it indefinitely.

The "pilot program is no longer a pilot," Bates said. "We were very pleased with the pilot program."

Glavin said that they had "gotten a lot of the kinks out of the program."

Administrators "tried to be flexible" when deciding what parties would be allowed, Glavin said. Bates said that she would try to work with groups to re-schedule or redefine their events to prevent cancelation.

In addition, no more than two parties requiring metal detectors may be held in one night. Events that are large and late at night and have alcohol and non-MIT at them usually require metal detectors. Glavin said the limit of two such parties per night was enforced because of limited manpower and resources.

It "is not clear how much of a limitation" this would be, Bates said.

So far, there has not been a night for which three groups have requested a metal-detector event, Jablonski said.

Student input in policy scarce

Doug K. Wyatt G, president of the Association of Student Activities, was the only student consulted in the decision and said that he was "asked for input" during the initial formulation of the pilot.

Even so, Wyatt said security was "a trump card they play pretty often."

"Some of the restrictions are a bit reactionary and unnecessary," he said.

While the pilot program is in place now, it will be reviewed at the end of each term, Bates said. The plan may also be affected by a report by the co-curricular re-engineering group.

The report will be released sometime during the fall but "we knew that we needed something in place for fall," Bates said.

Even though the policy regarding parties could be changed by the re-engineering report, "unless they have the money to do the kind of renovations we want" at Walker - like securing doors and windows - it is unlikely that the facility will become available for large parties, Bates said.