Categorized | Viewpoints

Dougie disappoints after dark

Ben Taylor

The Party Monitor Policy has been commented and reported on by the Voice almost ad naseum. I recognize this, but I would still like to add to the mix a discussion on a very particular part of the policy that, as far as I know, has not been addressed to this point. Specifically, this viewpoint will argue that it is unfair to the residents of Douglass, Gault Schoolhouse and Luce that the common areas of their  buildings have been designated as rentable party spaces without their approval. This means that parties required to register (i.e. ones with 35 or more people where alcohol is served or which are advertised in advance) can now be hosted in those buildings.

The main thrust of my argument is as follows: When the Greek groups moved into Bissman, they knew ahead of time that there would be partying in the building and that there would be a space designated for partying. The UG is a space that is not within the confines of a residential area (by which I mean that you cannot reach it from inside Compton, even though it is in the same structure as Compton). Douglass, Luce and Gault Schoolhouse, though, are residential buildings with common spaces right in the midst of the residential space, and residents did not know ahead of time that their common spaces could be rented for the types of parties that can now be held in them. This, I argue, is unfair to these residents.

Of these three halls, I have a particular problem with allowing parties to be hosted in Douglass. Many expect Luce to be a site of partying, and the space in Gault Schoolhouse is largely removed from the residents’ rooms, but neither of these is true of Douglass.

This year, Douglass houses transfer students and first years. They had little to no say on where they would be living. Instead, we put them into a building, presumably designated the lounges as “dry” because it was full of first-year students, and then for some reason abandoned this principle in deciding to allow hosted parties in the basement. This was done without consultation of the students and without giving them any choice ahead of time about whether they would like to live in a building where outside groups could come in and host parties.

I have recently spoken to students who live in Douglass and who were at a discussion with members of Residence Life addressing the policy. It is my understanding that some residents raised points similar to mine. They feel that their building has had a different atmosphere than they expected when they chose to live there (for upperclassmen) or has been unwelcoming first hall (for first years). Douglass is no longer what they expected.

Now, I realize that an assumption underlying this viewpoint is that forcing students to live in a building that allows for college-sanctioned partying to occur even if the students do not want to be in such a building is unfair to those students. I assume that the consent of the students is necessary to make the policy legitimate. This is a contestable assumption, and I do not have the space to defend it here, but I did want to acknowledge that it underlies my argument.

Essentially, my argument is simple. If there are going to be loud, large, alcohol-fueled events occurring in residential halls, those events should only occur in halls where the residents had some sort of say whether (or, at a bare minimum, an expectation that) such events were going to occur in those halls. Any other policy, including the one we have, is unfair to the residents of those halls.

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