Safety Dance not so safe

Approximately 2,000 students attended this year’s Safety Dance. Unfortunately, the night did not end well for all the partygoers.
Approximately 2,000 students attended this year’s Safety Dance. Unfortunately, the night did not end well for all the partygoers. Photo by Colin Ross.

Friday night’s Safety Dance in Commons saw more attendees than last year, but more of those attendees also wound up at medical facilities across campus.

Silliman College Master Judith Krauss, whose college organized the ’80s-themed dance, called the event a “huge success” and estimated that 2,000 students attended, up from 1,500 last year. But, she said she was unhappy that by the end of the night at least eight students were transported to medical facilities for alcohol-related reasons. Although Krauss said she does not know how many students were hospitalized in the past, she said she believes the number is higher this year.

Krauss said the culprit was clear: “Pre-gaming.”

“I wish I knew how to encourage people to drink less, but I don’t know what the answer is,” she said.

Krauss said Sunday that Silliman officials will meet today to assess what happened at the dance and discuss possible changes for next year. Still, in recent years, the Safety Dance has been successful, Silliman officials said last week, and not many changes were made from how the dance was set up last year.

“We’ve got it down to a science,” Krauss told the News last week.

Participants of this year’s Safety Dance had mixed feelings. The half-dozen student attendees interviewed Sunday night said the event was a night of partying and dancing — interrupted by the occasional health hazard.

During the middle of the dance, Yale police closed off the men’s restroom in the basement below Commons to transport a Safety Dance attendee out of the rotunda on a stretcher. Ambulance lights could be seen from the exits of the dance floor.

Still, some lighter forms of play also occurred; one student said a form of bladderball briefly emerged on the Commons dance floor.

“At one point, somebody started tossing around a big multi-colored beach volleyball,” William Desmond ’12 said. “It hit plenty of people on the head.”

Katelyn Martin ’12 said she enjoyed dancing in her ’80s getup.

“Except at one point,” she added. “I stepped in vomit on the dance floor. It was kind of a downer.”

This coming Saturday, Halloween, will feature Pierson College’s Inferno, another popular college-sponsored party.


  • TD ’10

    “‘I wish I knew how to encourage people to drink less, but I don’t know what the answer is,’ [Kraus] said.”

    Now, Master Kraus has been at this longer than I have, but could it be that banning alcohol at the event encourages students to get irresponsibly drunk beforehand?

  • Anonymous

    @ TD: you wish. There are times when it is perhaps appropriate to drag out the old “enforcement makes the problem” worse excuse, but this is not one of them. People are going to pregame either way and the legal hurdles to offering alcohol at such a large event are immense. If you don’t like the Connecticut liquor laws, maybe you should try to change them rather than encourage they be broken.

  • Y’10

    TD ’10 beat me to the punch. The fact of the matter is that students are going to get drunk, and an 80s dance is reason enough for students to want to get extra-strength soused. Rather than frown on this behavior, the administration should realize that we’ll be drinking and try to take a harm reduction approach. Yes, that might actually require the Office of New Haven and State Affairs to do some lobbying up in Hartford to get that idiotic possession law that makes Masters and Deans liable for students’ conduct repealed or changed, but isn’t that what we pay the office for?

  • You’d have an argument…

    …if it were people over 21 who were being transported, but we both know that’s not true.

  • BR 10

    The best way to get rid of pregaming is to lower the drinking age and serve alcohol at the event, with bartenders who could use their discretion and not serve students who are already too drunk.

    However, this is beyond Master K’s control.

  • Joker

    Yes, you too can enjoy this for 47 grand a year…lol.

  • Gloin

    I would go if they had a karaoke hour

  • old man

    people will stop drinking too much when drinking stops being fun.

  • BK 09

    If I recall correctly, people get trashed because that’s the only way most people have fun at an 80s themed dance.

  • y’11

    I swear to god this article was only written because of the title.

  • ES 2012

    y’11 is absolutely right. The pun is old, as is the issue at hand.

    People will drink irresponsibly in college. The administration could try to counteract this by offering fun activities before the actual dance starts (maybe karaoke offered starting at 8 pm?) so that people have an alternative to pregaming, but honestly, if the students don’t know how to make their own alternatives, then the administration can’t really help.

  • so bad?

    Having ~.4% of the attendees of a big-deal 80s dance abuse alcohol to the point where they required hospitalization does not exactly seem like a crisis. I don’t know what this article was trying to accomplish. Obviously, you don’t want ambulances in Commons or vomit on the dancefloor, but when you bring together 2,000 college kids looking to blow off steam after working extremely hard all week, a few people are going to learn a rough lesson. It’s unfortunate, but is not exactly the end of the world.

  • Katie

    I apologize but I couldn’t help laughing at this article…the current freshmen weren’t even alive during the 80s, right? And yet they were sooo excited about it 8 went to the hospital. I don’t remember it being so bad last year, and I was a Froco, but as people above have said, there are too many variables involved to find a clear solution.