Registration now required for off-campus parties

The president of Sigma Nu fraternity said the University's new policy requiring registration for off-campus parties will hit fraternity activities extra hard.
The president of Sigma Nu fraternity said the University's new policy requiring registration for off-campus parties will hit fraternity activities extra hard. Photo by Christopher Peak.

Following a new policy designed to combat underage drinking, students are now required to register off-campus parties attended by more than 50 people with the Yale College Dean’s Office.

The rule, which was announced in an Aug. 10 campus-wide email, is intended to bring off-campus parties in line with established on-campus party registration guidelines and increase student safety, Yale College Dean Mary Miller said in an email to the News. Four student leaders interviewed said they will likely comply with the new regulations, though they plan to wait and see how administrators will enforce the rule.

“It will just be a way for us to have more knowledge about what’s going on,” said John Meeske, associate dean for student organizations and physical resources, “and with more knowledge we can watch what’s going on more closely.”

Meeske said students will need to register parties under the name of a “host,” who assumes legal responsibility for the attendees. The online registration form, which Meeske sent in a Wednesday email to all undergraduates, requires the host to acknowledge Yale’s alcohol policies and Connecticut state laws regarding alcohol.

If an alcohol-related incident occurs at a registered party, Meeske said, the host would “very possibly” be subject to an Executive Committee hearing, adding that the policy was passed “largely” to address underage drinking.

“There are many, many incidents during the year where students get dangerously drunk,” Meeske said, “and we’re trying to take some steps to reduce that.”

The host will submit an online form to the Dean’s Office, he added, and the Dean’s Office will then pass the party information to the Yale Police Department so it can observe the area. Rather than stationing an officer outside of each party, Meeske said, the police will be watching certain areas and intervene “if they observe something getting out of hand,… especially if a party is not registered for that day.”

Daniel Tay ’14, president of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, said his fraternity has not yet planned to hold any Camp Yale parties but would “probably” register one if they did.

“I don’t necessarily think that they’re telling us to register so that they know where to [break up],” he said, “but we do have to be careful about giving up that sort of information because you can only do so much in a fraternity house to manage risk.”

Bobby Dresser ’14, pitch of the Baker’s Dozen a capella group, said he has “trouble” seeing how administrators can regulate off-campus parties to make them safer without shutting them down. He added that because most his group’s larger parties occur later in the semester, he will get a chance to “see how [the rule] shapes up.”

Russell Holmes ’13, president of the Sigma Nu fraternity, said he thinks the policy will have “no material affect on the dangers of alcohol,” but rather disproportionately restrict fraternity activities.

Because the rush implementation committee that met last spring had argued it was unfair that the prohibition of fall rush only affected Greek organizations, Meeske said the new off-campus party policy requires all off-campus parties with over 50 attendees to register, not just ones thrown by fraternities. He added that if fraternities are disproportionately affected by the policy, “in a sense we wanted that, we wanted anybody who is hosting these large affairs to be affected.”

Though some fraternities have an established system of directly alerting the Yale Police Department when they are planning to host a party, Meeske said that system was voluntary, and administrators wanted a mandatory rule in place.

Meeske said the new policies will be finalized in print in the 2012-’13 Undergraduate Regulations.


  • Skeptic

    Wow.. in loco parentis to the max..

    Does this mean that if I, as a faculty member, hold a party for my class of 50 students I have to ask permission from Mary’s social police?

    • alum

      call it a “social gathering”…

    • mrmike527

      I would love any faculty member who began to do this

  • ldffly

    Imagine the opportunities for selective enforcement! The administration must be two feet off the ground with joy.

    With this added authority, Pres. Levin now believes that it’s worthwhile for him to stay another 10 years. He also decides to build six more colleges to raise enrollment to 12,000 students, all of whom must stay in.

    With the sarcasm light off, does anybody believe that this could have been done under some pressure from New Haven officials?

  • eli1

    Couple quick points…

    1) Is this legal? I thought we were at Yale, a place for academic and social exploration? Unfortunately, Comrade Miller and the rest of the Yale Gestapo (Meeske in particular) have absolutely destroyed Yale. This will do nothing but further strain the relationship between frats/athletics and Yale students/administrators. At a time when Miller should be trying to make Yale a more inclusive place all she is doing is further dividing the student body. If I was in a fraternity now I would want nothing to do with other students at Yale. Need to stick around those you can trust.

    2) Doesn’t this completely undermine Yale’s longstanding drinking policy? You can bet that if I or one of my friends is the “host” and someone gets dangerously drunk, there is no way I would call DUH or anyone else with some authority or medical expertise.

    This power trip by Miller is ridiculous, yet expected. Ever since she came on board Yale has turned into a vastly different place (for the worse). I really hope the students at Yale have enough courage to either challenge this or just ignore it completely.

  • ms2676

    If it is off-campus, what authority does the YC Dean have over it?

  • disneyguy

    This is an insane policy that can only be explained as further evidence that the Yale administration has completely lost touch with the student body, to say nothing of its inability to understand the importance of enforceability in its policies.

    Their incentive to register these huge parties by signing one’s name away in case anyone breaks the law or gets dangerously drunk is to *threaten* a student with ExComm? How on earth do they think that will increase safety? Students will not want to have anything to do with a dangerously drunk classmate, much less call for help.

    This policy will not be enforced. Thankfully, its very ineffectiveness will preserve the safety of the students it claims to protect.

  • alum

    there’s no way this can be legal. yale can’t enforce its policies on private property.

    guess what yale, prior to your gender neutral housing policy a little while back, men and women could live together off-campus if THEY decided to.

  • alum

    developments at Yale this summer: 1) you can assault other students and not be suspended (just lose your football captaincy!) 2) Yale can tell you what you can and can not do at your off-campus apartment.

    did I miss anything?

  • jamesdakrn

    Every organization on campus should register for parties on campus every day and every hour of the week and make this goddamn thing blow up upon itself

  • penny_lane

    >“It will just be a way for us to have more knowledge about what’s going on,” Meeske said, “and with more knowledge we can watch what’s going on more closely.”

    Big brother much? Am I the only one who feels violated just knowing he thinks this way?

    This is some enormous BS, to put it lightly.

  • Fraternity_Alum

    Reminds me of the bribe-seeking NHPD who would show up at off-campus parties and leave with $200 in their pockets and no recollection of what they saw there. Perhaps this will make it easier for them to know when and where to visit?

  • kdaysandtou

    I mean, this just makes no sense. If there’s a party of 50+ people, how is a single person who signs their name going to control the intoxication levels of everybody at the party? What kind of crazy position are you putting somebody in when they are forced to choose between calling for help for a severely drunk person and getting himself/herself/a friend an excomm hearing (and perhaps even criminal charges)?

    What is the registration process going to entail? Will it be like on-campus registration, where multiple trips to the Dean’s office are needed to get the special signature of approval? Major fraternity/a cappella/etc events are planned in advance, but few regular house/apartment parties are planned days (or even hours) in advance. Is a party on Saturday night going to be shut down because a host didn’t meet with the Dean’s office during business hours?

    What about the ’50’ number? Will the police come into every apartment/house making noise and stop everything to count the students and ensure that the number is under 50? Or is this policy unfairly directed toward the events of fraternities and sports teams?

    It’s not like Yale has an issue with its drinking culture. What we do pales in comparison to what goes on at 90% of college campuses. I don’t see what is so urgent and pressing that would lead to draconian action like this. Liquor stores close at 9:00 – that puts enough of a damper on things.

  • ldffly

    Might Pres. Levin’s eventual retirement elevate Dean Miller into the president’s office?

  • yellowasp

    Thank God the Yale administration is stepping in and ending the patriarchal dominance of fraternities, A Capella houses, and hipster events on Yale social life. Now, students will have to go to safer on-campus events like Safety Dance and women’s center talks.

  • HighStreet2010

    Be sure to register any gatherings you’re throwing while studying abroad or while at home for the summer. I would hate for the Dean to know you had a party in your NYC apartment without her express written consent and the YPDs presence.

    Glad I graduated before having to deal with this nightmare.

  • MalcomX

    So, if I were to host a block party at my off-campus home, and there were 48 New Haven residents and two Yale students present, I would need to let Mary Miller know about that?

    Yeah, that makes sense.

  • attila

    This is no surprise — the administration is applying “Singapore rules” to New Haven.

    Someone asks what happens if faculty sponsor a party. I want to know what happens when McHale punches out a professor.

  • AControlGroupie

    There is no way that this rule can be enforced meaningfully or fairly. It must be repealed as its consequences will run against those intended.

    I moved off campus because I don’t want or need a nanny.
    I am motivated to fight this for the trajectory and health of the Yale community. What is best way to bury this mis-guided idea?

    Until then, people will have to take a number at our housewarming party and 51 gets the boot.

    • onesillyfish

      There isn’t a need to fight for this to get repealed. The fact is that the rule will be circumvented by everyone who is smart enough to get into Yale.

      But, just in case someone is actually dumb enough to go register a party, I am willing to risk some brain cells and liver function to become the overly intoxicated student that has to go to the ER to get a banana bag.

  • bulldogs344

    Just another affirmation that this administration has completely lost it!!!

  • JohnnyE

    These thoughtless, sweeping policies are even worse when you consider that you are paying a higher tuition every year to fund the salaries of people whose jobs are to contrive them. Talk about administrative bloat.

  • ldffly

    If the administration wants to keep students within the campus, then the way to do it is to make the campus more attractive as a living space. Fact is, with 4800 undergrads in the mid 70s, the facilities were cramped. It can’t be any better now. Fix that problem and maybe the administration wouldn’t have to resort to rule making such as this.

    Or could the administration be worried that Yale College is turning into a party school, a development which they’d like to head off at the pass? A little explanation as to the rationale for this would surely be interesting.

  • River_Tam

    All Student Organisations, Societies, Teams, Groups, and Clubs are henceforth disbanded. An Organisation, Society, Team, Group, or Club is hereby defined as a regular meeting of three or more students. Permission to re-form may be sought from the High Inquisitor. No Student Organisation, Society, Team, Group, or Club may exist without the knowledge and approval of the High Inquisitor. Any student found to have formed, or to belong to, an Organisation, Society, Team, Group, or Club that has not been approved by the High Inquisitor will be expelled

  • uncommons

    This would be a great opportunity for the YCC to stop focusing on extra lamps in summer storage and take a stand.

  • ImportImages

    Wait. Can we go back to questioning the administration’s ability to do this? How can this be a rule? Someone suggested registering parties abroad or at home. That’s a fantastic point. How can Yale control student’s actions beyond the confines of its campus?

    • ldffly

      Ever heard of the Stasi?

  • JE14

    Yale is slowly turning into a police state…

    • ldffly

      I suspect you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    • jamesdakrn

      Everybody needs to hold a protest. Fight the system haha

    • penny_lane

      Seriously. This sort of regulation of gatherings didn’t work for colleges in the 1860s or the 1960s…but let’s try it again in the 2010’s, it’ll work this time!

  • The Anti-Yale

    “What kind of crazy position are you putting somebody in when they are forced to choose between calling for help for a severely drunk person and getting himself/herself/a friend an excomm hearing (and perhaps even criminal charges)?”

    **Dartmouth has this rule plus a police escort to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and the previous President, Mr. Kim, spent a great deal of spin-talk trying to neutralize its negative impact.
    Fraternity folk told him frankly that no one would opt for the emergency room if the police escort had to turn the event into an arrest.
    Look, things are different in 2012. Adults are scared: Binge drinking (Pong competitions, are the least of it) can be fatal.
    I’m no fan of mickey-mouse administrators (having a totally useless M.Ed. myself in Student Administration in Higher Education) but how would you like to have to call a parent and tell them their child is dead, or in a coma?
    Paul D. Keane
    M.Div. ’80
    M.A., M.Ed.**