Students have expressed confusion and frustration in response to yesterday’s news that Silliman College’s annual Safety Dance has come to an end.
The decision to cancel the event, which has taken place 13 consecutive years, came after this year’s Safety Dance on Saturday, when eight students were transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital for alcohol-related reasons. After students received a warning from Silliman College Master Judith Krauss in a Friday email that she was considering ending future Safety Dances, dance organizers Hannah Fornero ’15 and Nicole de Santis ’15 told the News on Monday night that this year’s event was the college’s last. While the dance’s cancellation met significant resistance among students who claim it will not change alcohol culture at Yale, Krauss said she decided to cancel itbecause the risks associated with excessive alcohol use outweighed the event’s benefits.
“Canceling the dance in and of itself is clearly not the solution to the problems with the alcohol culture at Yale, but it will provide one less campus-wide excuse for binge drinking”, Krauss said in a Tuesday email to the News.
Krauss said she and Silliman College Dean Hugh Flick made the final call to end the dance, but added that she first discussed its health and safety concerns with the Silliman Activities and Administrative Committee, which was responsible for organizing the event. Though she acknowledged that students associate the dance with “Silliman pride,” Krauss said that “with each successive year there has been less to be proud of and more to be concerned about.”
She declined to comment further on her reasons for canceling the event.
While students interviewed said Krauss’ decision to discontinue the dance because of excessive intoxication was misguided because binge drinking will still occur elsewhere on campus.
Ericka Saracho ’14 said students will find reasons to drink even without a college-wide dance such as the Safety Dance.
“It’s not going to change the way people drink,” she said.
Shuaib Raza ’14 said the minimal alcohol safety education students receive upon arriving at Yale leaves them unprepared to deal with alcohol “in a responsible way.”
Two students said they are concerned that the dance’s cancellation will prevent other students from seeking needed medical attention in future alcohol-related incidents out of fear that administrators will cancel other events.
Silliman College currently has no plans to organize another campus-wide event, Krauss said, adding that SAAC will likely use allotted funds for a Silliman-only event. In an earlier interview, she said in the past few years costs from the Safety Dance have typically exceeded Silliman’s budget by $1,000 to $2,000.
Roughly 2300 students attended this year’s Safety Dance, held in Commons.