Transparency and safety

In the wake of the Halloween party, it is clear that there were considerable failures on the part of Student Council, Public Safety, and the administration with regard to creating and publicizing party policy. Students did not know what to expect at the party, and were often surprised by the new measures that were put into place. These changes to standard protocol were put into effect with little coordination between the organizers, and without any information given to the student body. Additionally, there was no opportunity for students to have input into the new procedures before the party.

Perhaps the most surprising new policy implemented at the Halloween party was the substantial increase in the presence of Public Safety officers inside the venue itself. For, as much as the administration and Public Safety assert that officers are there only for the safety of students, the presence of authority figures at a student event is disconcerting, to say the least. The problem with Public Safety officers is that they can police apart from protect. The fact that there was no explicit reason given for their presence created an uncomfortable atmosphere.

The change in the way alcohol was served also came as a surprise to most. Tougher enforcement measures were implemented without any warning before the party. There are numerous reports of individuals seeing the security at the bar, leaving the party, and returning later, visibly more drunk. The policy, and the way that it was implemented, seem counter-productive to promoting safe drinking practices.

The new security protocols at the door, too, seem unnecessary and counter-productive. Several students who were told that they could not enter with water bottles waited outside Sharples to finish their beverages, whatever they may be, quickly before entering. This is completely unsafe, and indefensible. The card-readers that were used at the door are reported to have cost $4000 each, a seemingly unnecessary expense.

There was a complete lack of transparency in developing and implementing these new policies. Students were not consulted, or even informed, beforehand. This is both unfair and irresponsible.

The first opportunity given to all students to participate in a discussion relating to these policies happened this past Tuesday, three days after the Halloween party. This discussion should have happened before the party in order to develop policy.

We, as students, have a right to be treated with respect and as adults. The administration, Public Safety, and Student Council should be far more transparent. They should actually communicate with students before they establish new policies. We believe that the Halloween party represents an enormous failure to communicate on the part of all parties involved. Communication between Public Safety, Student Council, the administration, and the student body is vital. Policy changes should not be concealed nor made without dialogue. They affect us all.