Underaged drinking outlawed at “Prohibition”

Students in Morse and Stiles said they carefully adhered to University regulations when organizing Prohibition, the two colleges’ first joint dance since their screw at Elevate Lounge was raided by police Oct. 2.

With Stiles under construction, Morse hosted the 1920s-themed dance party, which featured swing dance instructors from the Yale Swing Association, jazz music and free fedoras, cigars and garters to capture the mood of the era. Ezra Stiles College Council President Justin Lowenthal ’11 said organizers brought in Yale Police and fire marshals to prevent overcrowding and underage drinking — the two reasons cited by the New Haven Police for the raid on Elevate.

“We are trying to draw from our experiences from screw to make sure everything is okay for this event,” Ezra Stiles Social Activities Committees Chair Jaya Wen ’12 said.

Prohibition featured a “speakeasy” style bar where students who were of age could purchase drinks. Due to state and Yale regulations, the speakeasy limited students to three drinks, and the bar was in a heated tent outside, away from underage students. To get into the bar, students needed to have stamps on their hands to prove they had paid and government-issued identification to prove their age.

With the exception of one incident, where a student was hurt when he fell onto the concrete from a raised courtyard, the event went smoothly, Lowenthal said. Lowenthal did not know the identity of the student, who was taken in an ambulance to a hospital, but said the student was able to walk on his own to the emergency vehicle.

Lowenthal said he did not know how many students attended to event because the Morse and Stiles councils have yet to meet to count the proceeds, but he said he thinks the dance attracted more students than it did last year. Organizers reduced the cost of admission from $10 to $5 this year, moved the dance from Commons to Morse and advertised more than last year to up the attendance.

Prohibition overlapped with Davenport’s Screw, but Lowenthal said he is not worried about the effect on attendance, because there are usually multiple partiesat Yale on any given night. Davenport College Council Treasurer Nathaniel Zelinsky ’13 he does not yet know the number of people who attended the screw, but expects it was the same if not more than the previous year.

Three students who attended the screw said they would have gone to Prohibition if the two parties had not overlapped.

“It was unfortunate that it conflicted with such a big screw weekend,” Cathy Mackey ’14 said. “More students would have attended Prohibition if they did not have screw.”

Eight students who went to Prohibition said the event was well-designed, and true to its 1920s theme. Four emphasized how much they enjoyed the swing dancing lessons.

“The organizers did a good job of arranging things such as the music and cigars, which made the event more realistic for the era,” James Kim ’14 said.

Students who wanted to take a break from dancing, or just watch a movie, could sit in the Morse Lounge and watch popular movies from the time period, such as “The Great Gatsby.”

After the first two hours of a live jazz band, the music switched to contemporary dance tunes played by a student DJ. Florencino Ghinaglia ’14 said he enjoyed watching people in 1920 outfits dancing to hip-hop.

“It was well organized and a good event for the time I was there,” Christina Brasco ’14 said.

Prohibition is in its second year. It was created to replace Morse-Stiles Casino Night, which was banned in 2008 due to Connecticut gambling regulations.

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