Pierson to hold private “Unferno”

Tonight, Pierson College will hold the “Unferno” tonight — a more private, toned-down version of the defunct annual Inferno party, which was permanently canceled after 2002 — members of the Pierson Student Activities Committee said.

Unlike its now-defunct predecessor, the Unferno will be open only to students in Pierson and their guests to avoid the overcrowding and property damage that caused the Inferno to be canceled, Pierson SAC co-chair E.J. Wolborsky ’07 said. Though it bears some similarities to the Inferno — which was also formerly held after liquor-treating and before the Yale Symphony Orchestra concert — the Unferno will take place in Pierson’s lower courtyard, which does not have the space for any campus-wide event, Pierson College Council President Brett Edkins ’06 said.

Ivan Dremov ’07, Pierson SAC co-chair, said that in order to control the party’s size and address safety concerns, three Yale Police Department officers will stand watch at the party, and all Pierson gates will be locked down between 9 p.m. and midnight except for the York Street gate.

“We don’t want any damage done to Pierson grounds, and Pierson students are more willing to keep that in mind,” Dremov said.

Pierson Master Harvey Goldblatt said that despite rumors that the Inferno may make a full return this or next Halloween, he has decided to maintain his ban of the party indefinitely.

“There will be no reincarnation of the Pierson Inferno,” Goldblatt said. “The rumors are false.”

Wolborsky said while the Unferno might bear some resemblance to the Inferno, the fact that it is limited to Pierson students will likely prevent the party from becoming as wild as its predecessor.

“The name is not what’s most important,” Wolborsky said. “We wanted to keep in the spirit of the Inferno tradition, but this is essentially just the Pierson Halloween party.”

Pierson threw a similar party last Halloween, which had among the largest turnouts of all parties held that night, Edkins said. But he said this year he wants the event to be more low-key because too many people usually show up, which was why the Inferno was permanently called off in the first place.

The Unferno will include music, decorations and students dressed in costumes, Wolborsky said. Although last year’s event had a large turnout, he said, this year may be different because Halloween falls on a Monday.

The original Pierson Inferno was an annual Halloween night dance party held in the Pierson dining hall, which took place from 1977 to 2002. The event, open to the entire campus, was permanently canceled in 2003 because of property damage and chaos caused by thousands of students gathering in one dining hall. In 2003, Pierson held a dance in a tent outside the Swing Space courtyard, Dremov said.

“The Inferno is not going to come back for a while,” Dremov said. “Halloween was one of those types of nights where everyone had to go out, and the Inferno was the center of the party. It was marked with a lot of people going to the hospital.”

Another reason that the Inferno could not be held this year is a lack of funding, Dremov said, which is a problem that Timothy Dwight College also faces this year in trying to bring back its “Exotic Erotic” dance party. But despite the funding challenges, members of the Timothy Dwight Student Activities Committee said they are planning to bring back the dance.

Dremov said only students in Pierson have been sent e-mails or advertisements about the Unferno.

“The biggest fear is we don’t want to have the entire University show up in our college,” Dremov said.

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