While students fought over scraps of a bladderball to bring their colleges eternal glory on Saturday, their masters and deans are now expressing disapproval.
The 24 deans and masters of the 12 colleges have written a joint letter, published in today’s News, condemning the game, which they say endangered the lives of students and New Haven residents and bogged down police and emergency services. They urged bladderball’s continued prohibition, saying that students had forgotten the reasons for the game’s ban 27 years ago.
“The event disrupted lives; interfered with ambulance, fire, and other emergency response efforts; damaged the relationship that all of us in the University and New Haven have worked to develop; and incurred costs to the University that are only now being tallied,” they wrote. “As some of you observed, motorists with young children were terrified by being caught in the midst of what to them seemed a dangerous riot; elderly people were shoved up against cars; students were knocked to the ground and fortunate not to be trampled.”
Yale College Dean Mary Miller echoed the views of the residential college heads in an e-mail to the News Tuesday night, though she declined to say whether administrators will pursue disciplinary or legal consequences for those involved.
“Although Bladderball itself is not named in the Undergraduate Regulations,” Miller wrote, “inciting riot on the one hand and defiance of authority (violating a Presidential ban) on the other are of course subject to the [Undergraduate Regulations].”
In the letter, the Deans and Masters admitted that they, like the estimated 1,000 students who attended the event, were initially caught up in its energy. But, they wrote, they quickly realized that bladderball is inherently unsafe because of its lack of rules and structure.
Students interviewed on the day of the game said this anarchy was what made bladderball enjoyable.
Even Ezra Stiles College Master Stephen Pitti e-mailed his college the evening after the game, expressing his “con-blad-ulations” for winning.
“Feel free to disregard any rival claims from lesser colleges,” he said in the e-mail Saturday, three days before signing the Council of Master’s letter to the News.
The administrators also wrote that Yale and New Haven police were tied up “for several hours” restoring law and order to Elm Street and Central Campus. According to multiple eye witnesses, the bladderball was popped at 4:20 p.m, and deflated by 4:30 p.m, just 30 minutes after the game began.
Yale Police Chief James Perrotti said in an e-mail Sunday that the YPD had made no preparations for the event and had to respond to the disturbance created by the game with all on-duty officers. The YPD was reinforced in its crowd-control efforts by an unidentified number of New Haven Police officers.
Bladderball was banned 27 years ago by University President A. Bartlett Giamatti ’60 after a game in which three students were hospitalized. Miller had warned last Thursday, ahead of Saturday’s game, that the ban remained in effect.