Prefrosh at this year’s Campus Preview Weekend (CPW) will be the first to experience a new policy restricting late night events: CPW events must now end by 1 a.m. and can begin again at 6 a.m. Spontaneous events, such as an impromptu movie showing, can still take place, but will not be listed in the booklet. For the past couple of years, the rule has been that all events with an end time past 3 a.m. must have a safety plan to get prefrosh home, but there had been no set end time.
According to the Student Activities Office (SAO) Student Organization Handbook, “All events must end no later than 1 a.m.” The Institute-wide policy was implemented in the 1990s around the same time as a rash of violent events at large parties, which included two shootings and a stabbing. The Campus Police and Campus Activities Complex (CAC) initially banned all large late-night parties, and presumably eventually reached the 1 a.m. rule, according to Assistant Director of Admissions and CPW Coordinator Katie A. Kelley.
In past years, a lack of communication between the SAO and the CPW advisory committee, which consists of various representatives from groups involved in CPW, including the CAC, SAO, and FSILG (Fraternity, Sorority, and Independent Living Groups) offices, led to the CPW committee approving events at all hours.
Although the 1 a.m. policy was mentioned last year during a meeting of the committee, it was too close to the date of the weekend, so CPW went on as planned. However, when the policy was brought up again at one of this year’s meetings, the committee agreed to put it into practice in order to be consistent with Institute policy. Students were not consulted before the decision was made.
“The process surrounding the decision demonstrates an unacceptable lack of collaboration with student leaders and the student body as a whole,” wrote DormCon president Eli H. Ross ’14 in an email to The Tech. “The policy choice was made and then simply relayed to relevant groups—many of which would have had valuable input into the earlier discussion process.”
According to Kelley, the policy is “not due to safety concerns surrounding late night events.” Furthermore, there will be exceptions. Currently, HackMIT and Mystery Hunt extend past 1 a.m., but CPW will not be granted a reprieve. Another committee is reviewing the policy to determine exactly which kinds of events will receive exceptions, but a decision will not be reached until June. However, the 1 a.m. rule will remain formal Institute policy.
Student reactions to the rule have not all been positive — some question the necessity of the rule.
“I don’t think that rule will be abided by, because CPW is a free-for-all … I just don’t see it happening,” said Wesley T. Cox ’17.
Carolyn E. Schaefer ’17 added, “Exposing prefrosh to activities after 1 a.m. is more representative of what college will be like.”
Although the policy is not related to safety issues, Ross pointed out some risks that it might create. “I think that there are more safety concerns involved with not having late-night events; it’s easy to imagine many pre-frosh wandering around in the middle of the night with no events to attend,” he said.
Some of CPW’s signature events, namely Firehose, are known for the late hours at which they take place. With the new policy, these events would have to take place around midnight instead. The Educational Studies Program (ESP) is considering conducting Firehose lectures over multiple nights for this CPW.
Some students voiced concerns that the policy would take away what made CPW different from other colleges’ preview weekends.
“CPW is a time to show off MIT and ‘MIT-ness.’ This is a place known for middle-of-the-night antics, all-nighters for problem sets, and awesome discussions at 3 a.m. To give pre-frosh the idea that campus shuts down at 1 a.m. would be, quite bluntly, a lie,” said Ross.
Despite this, Kelley thinks that the new ending time would not necessarily destroy the spirit of CPW. Referring to the post-CPW survey sent out to the prefrosh, Kelley said, “What I heard was important [to the prefrosh] was the random conversations they had” with MIT students, conversations that can still take place.