On March 19, the Senior Class Council sent out an e-mail officially acknowledging the cancellation of Senior Week, closing the final chapter of the saga which started in December when the College decided to ban alcohol consumption in Travers/Wolfe. However, the council hopes to replace Senior Week.
Despite constant negotiations between the Senior Class Council and James Norfleet, vice president of Student Life, the two sides could not reach a compromise that would induce enough seniors to attend the traditional year-end festivities. A mere 7 percent of the senior class registered to attend Senior Week, forcing the event to be canceled.
“We’ve been sending a clear and simple message all year long: an enthusiastic ‘yes’ to Senior Week and the responsible use of alcohol in most venues, and a firm and resolute ‘no’ to alcohol in Travers and Wolfe,” Norfleet said in an e-mail. “The senior class officers and I have worked well together, we genuinely respect and appreciate each other, but we were at odds over alcohol consumption in the residence halls.”
This will mark the first time that the College will not hold Senior Week in nearly 10 years.
“We did everything in our power to work on this since last spring. We’ve exhausted every possible option,” Gabe Alonso, treasurer of the Senior Class Council, said. “There were times when I borderline yelled at (Norfleet) in frustration.”
Alonso described Norfleet as “incredibly patient” throughout the entire ordeal.
Despite the setback, the Senior Class Council is still trying to pull together some kind of culminating event for the seniors to enjoy before they graduate.
“We don’t want to leave without coming together one last time,” Alonso said. “We’re looking into a semi-formal, possibly revisiting the 007 theme our class has had. We may also talk to (Katmandu) about altering the Luau-themed night.”
However, plans are still uncertain.
Many seniors are blaming both the administration and Senior Class Council for the cancellation of Senior Week, even going as far as to cite the banning of alcohol as a plan to cancel Senior Week by the administration.
“That’s not true, though it gives people someone to blame,” Norfleet said. “While we support the concept of Senior Week, we believe it should not be an exercise in overindulgence and harmful behavior, but rather an exciting and memorable way for seniors to conclude their years at the College.”
Alonso emphasized that the removal of alcohol didn’t affect the revamped Senior Week, which included trips to New York City and a luau at Katmandu in place of a day trip to Six Flags Great Adventure, as dramatically as many seniors made it seem.
“We tried to stress that you can drink anytime you aren’t in T/W. You’re at events all day every day. The only non-drinking times would be between something like 3 and 10 a.m.,” Alonso said. “I’m disappointed that our class couldn’t grasp the bigger picture of the week. There wasn’t much we could do once the class got stuck on the alcohol policy.”
Lauren Svec, senior political science major, did not sign up for Senior Week.
“It wasn’t so much the fact that we couldn’t drink but the fact that we weren’t given a choice,” Svec said. “The College’s alcohol policy clearly states that you can drink on campus if you’re over 21 and not in public.”
The Seal, the College’s yearbook, could also be affected by the cancellation of Senior Week. The Senior Class Council agreed to lower the price of a ticket for Senior Week from $185 to $155 for any student who agreed to buy a copy of the Seal for $60. The end result was a ticket to Senior Week and a copy of the yearbook in a package deal for $215. The package deal actually led to a $30 ticket discount for seniors who chose to buy both the ticket and the yearbook.
Audrey Levine, editor-in-chief of The Seal, did not think the cancellation would negatively affect her publication.
“The cancellation of Senior Week will not affect the Seal financially,” Levine said in an e-mail interview. “The deal was that if you purchased a yearbook for its original price of $60, the price we have been advertising since September, you would be able to purchase a Senior Week ticket for a reduced price. The Seal was receiving publicity, not financial assistance.”
Both Levine and Norfleet are confident in the yearbook.
“The Seal will be produced this year. President Gitenstein and I will help the yearbook staff to eradicate their deficit,” Norfleet said.
Levine, who had planned to attend Senior Week, said the Seal staff would increase its sales efforts over the next month to help recoup the costs.
With a culminating event still up in the air and the administration standing its ground on the no-alcohol policy in Travers/Wolfe, the future of Senior Week is uncertain, but some remain optimistic.
Norfleet said, “I hope we can create a new legacy for Senior Week that is less focused on constant access to alcohol and more focused on fun, camaraderie and celebration.”