Senior Week, a three-day program traditionally held at the end of the Spring semester as a last hurrah for seniors, might be called off this year because of a new administrative policy that bans alcohol from Travers and Wolfe halls during the program, and an increase in ticket price due to budget cuts.
In previous years, the College has allowed “alcohol use throughout the Travers/Wolfe complex,” Matthew Golden, director of Communications and Media Relations, said. The College “has transported intoxicated Senior Week participants to the hospital, and there has been vandalism to the residence halls each year as a result of alcohol misuse during this program,” he said.
This spring, if enough students are interested in attending to make Senior Week worth organizing, alcohol will not be allowed in the towers.
“We have been fighting this change and trying to come up with alternatives since May,” the Senior Class Council said in a statement for The Signal. The council members said that if they had “continued to persist that alcohol be allowed in the towers, there would not have been a Senior Week.”
The Senior Class Council is: Mollie Seiferas, president; Blair Gumnic, vice president; Gabe Alonso, treasurer; and Christie Pirro, secretary.
“We have not removed alcohol from Senior Week, only from the towers,” the council said.
“Among the many activities (the Senior Class Council has) planned are events where no alcohol will be served as well as events at which students of legal age may choose to drink responsibly,” Golden said.
The class council e-mailed the senior class on Nov. 27, directing them to an online survey that asked students if they would attend the program in light of the changes. As of Dec. 1, the council did not know when the decision to hold or cancel Senior Week would be made.
Golden said the change was prompted by concerns that allowing alcohol throughout the residential buildings might send “mixed messages” about the College’s policy toward alcohol consumption.
Jim Norfleet, vice president of Student Life, decided that the College will no longer set aside its alcohol policy during Senior Week, Golden said. Norfleet made the decision in light of concerns about mixed messages on alcohol use at the College that had been raised in discussions initiated last January, Golden said.
The Senior Class Council also said that faculty and staff would not agree to supervise Senior Week if alcohol was allowed in the towers.
The new alcohol policy is more disappointing to most students than the increase in ticket price, the council members said.
“Because we have seen the effects of budget cuts in all areas on campus, it was not surprising to most students to see an increase in the ticket cost,” the council said. Tickets are expected to cost between $200 and $230, as opposed to prices between $150 and $180 in previous years, the council members said.
“The Senior Week budget usually receives money from the College; however, that money, approximately $11,000, was cut,” they said, noting that they also had less money than usual approved for them by the Student Finance Board.
Approximately 600 to 700 students have attended each previous Senior Week, the council said.
“We are absolutely disappointed by the changes, and the thought that the event might be canceled,” the council members said. “We have been working incredibly hard since the end of the 2006 Senior Week to resist these changes, but they were inevitable.”
At least one senior, who may supervise the event as a Residence Life employee, has welcomed the alcohol ban in the residence halls.
“I think it would make the towers safer if there was no drinking,” the senior, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “I respect that most are 21 or over, but in life shit happens.”
Many see the changes as an end to a fun College tradition.
“It shouldn’t be as expensive as it is and I just hope it’s going to happen,” Ryan Potosky, senior biology major, said.