After years of rowdiness and excessive damage to facilities, the infamous flames of the Pierson Inferno may be extinguished forever.
The Inferno, which is Pierson College’s annual Halloween party, will not be held this year or next year, and is in danger of being cancelled forever. Pierson College Master Harvey Goldblatt said the chaos of last year’s Inferno and the consequent destruction of valuable college property caused him to call an end to the notorious party, which is traditionally held after liquor-treating and before the Yale Symphony Orchestra concert.
Goldblatt said security was also a major factor in the decision to cancel the Inferno.
“Aside from the excess damage, the police who provided security last year told me they would never work it again,” he said. “I will not allow a party with no control, specifically one that caters to a large number of students, most of whom are not Piersonites.”
Goldblatt said last year, he found an expensive table in pieces after students had used it to try and break down a door. In addition, he said he had to fix three dining hall tables that were severely damaged as a result of students jumping on them.
As with many of the larger Yale parties, student safety is a liability for the University’s administration, said Dylan Davey ’05, who helped organize last year’s event.
“We were lucky last year and only had one transport to Yale-New Haven Hospital,” she said. “The year before, there were 14 and this number doesn’t include the countless [Department of University Health] cases that went unrecorded.”
From an organizer’s perspective, Davey said she thought the claims of damage and poor conduct were legitimate reasons for cancelling the Inferno.
“It’s an attempt at organizing chaos — about 3,000 students came through Pierson dining hall last year,” she said. “Standing in the doorway as a human blockade against the wave of people was not the most fun job.”
Last year, Davey said, bike locks used to secure the underground gates between Davenport and Pierson were bent open. Meanwhile, the fire marshal was standing outside threatening to shut the party down.
Goldblatt said Pierson is unlikely to hold any major parties for the next few years because the college’s renovation will bring brand new facilities. He did suggest, however, that there might be an alternative for future Halloweens.
“I am willing to discuss something different in concept and [something] smaller, possibly exclusive to Pierson students,” he said. “But it will not be called ‘the Inferno.’”
Davey, who heads the Pierson Student Activities Committee, affirmed that there are plans for a party on or around Halloween this year. She said Pierson may limit entrance to those on a guest list in order to control the crowd in Swing Space.
Despite the possibility of this alternative, Elizabeth Jordan ’06 said she is disappointed by the Inferno’s cancellation.
“It’s a travesty,” she said. “The Inferno was a staple of my Halloween last year.”