Elevate has little impact on alcohol policy

After a recent raid on a Yale-sponsored party at Elevate Lounge, which resulted in the arrest of five students, administrators said Yale has no plans to change its alcohol enforcement and student safety measures.

The events that night do not reflect a problem with Yale’s alcohol policy, said Council of Masters chair Jonathan Holloway. While there might be changes to or a decline in parties held at off-campus clubs in the short-term because of safety concerns, he said, he expects Yale to continue hosting events at New Haven clubs in the future.

“In this case we did things by the book,” Holloway said, referring to the planning of the Oct. 2 Morse-Stiles Screw. He said Yale followed all state alcohol laws, and explained that the University’s current efforts to address underage drinking are ongoing and not a response to the event.

Saybrook College Master Paul Hudak said the raid led Saybrook to postpone and relocate its dance, which was scheduled to be held at Elevate one week after the raid. However, he said that the dance was moved not because of specific concerns about Elevate or alcohol use, but a general concern about safety in the Crown Street area.

“The Elevate incident was just the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he wrote in an e-mail to the News on Wednesday. “I am hoping that the city of New Haven brings things under control in that area, so that our students and the rest of the Yale community can feel safe there once again.”

Holloway and Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry said that they were not aware of any changes to the University’s alcohol enforcement policy or protocol for Yale-sponsored off-campus parties in response to the Elevate raid. Gentry and Holloway both said that the administration has not increased collaboration with the New Haven Police Department to curb underage drinking. Both said preventative measures remain a top focus for administrators.

Morse College Master Frank Keil said Morse has always tried to abide by alcohol regulations when planning parties, but the college is keeping “recent events” in mind as they consider ways to keep students safe at events — especially those which may prompt students to drink.

“One consistent theme is to try to have lots of good food and non-alcoholic beverages not only at the events themselves, but even before those events officially start,” Keil said in an e-mail to the News on Wednesday.

Gentry said that Yale will remain vigilant about ensuring all laws are obeyed, and that all contracts between Yale and outside organizations for social events are still reviewed by administrators before the event.

“I think we have a good relationship with New Haven,” Gentry said, adding that Yale’s efforts to comply with state and city codes is key to maintaining this relationship.

Ben Flores ’10, a student affairs fellow focusing on alcohol issues, said that a committee on drug and alcohol use — composed of professors and administrators from the Yale College Dean’s Office, Yale HEALTH, Yale Athletics and residential colleges — still meets regularly.

Gentry said the committee will continue to help colleges and student organizations prepare for big events. Holloway, who is also the master of Calhoun College, said he made sure Calhoun sponsored pizza parties for freshmen the night of Trolley Night, Oct. 1. He could not conclusively say what impact it had, but he said no students had to be transported to the hospital.

Holloway said that Halloween is a “scary” weekend for the masters and deans. While there are no coordinated efforts among the masters to deal with drinking over that weekend, Holloway said, masters and deans are advised to be a visible presence around the colleges.

Gentry said the alcohol committee will make water and snacks available to students on Halloween, but said details on the plan are not yet available.

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