Many of Yale’s heavy partyers remember a time when you could throw up in a frat before you had to return home. Times have changed.
With Naples no longer serving alcohol, Toad’s temporarily closed last weekend for liquor violations, and Sigma Alpha Epsilon canceling late-night parties because of a heavy police presence, Yalies it seems, are quickly finding themselves without a place to party. As party-traffic diverges from once familiar party haunts, it seems that it is moving, increasingly, in the direction of the colleges and student residences off-campus. Over the past couple of weeks, this has posed its own set of problems.
A Saturday night party that got out of hand at Swing Space, a moratorium on parties in Calhoun College and arrests at the Oxford attest to the recent attention the party scene at Yale has been receiving.
09.14.02: Swing Space
While the freshmen in Swing Space haven’t been partying very hard since they arrived, that all changed two weeks ago.
What started as a typical Yale freshmen bash for unsuspecting Berkeley College hosts turned into an alleged $900 worth of damage.
Fusco Management Company, which manages Swing Space, assessed the damage the next morning. Among the destruction were vomit stains on carpets in the common spaces, feces in the washing machines and dryers, and damaged exit signs.
“There was a lot of damage, some of it pretty revolting, but it was probably done by people who were coming back from other parties — that’s what most people think and that sounds likely to me,” said Traugott Lawler, the master of Ezra Stiles College.
The party spilled out into common spaces, hallways and the courtyard, where the sprinkler system had gone off.
“The party wasn’t a big deal,” said one freshman, who said that things had otherwise been relatively quiet in Swing Space.
Lindsay Nordell ’03, an Stiles freshman counselor in Swing Space, pointed out that “at Swing Space, because it’s a new building — it’s held to different standards. It can’t really take the beating that Old Campus can and does.”
“The problem might have come from the damage done to Swing Space, not the actual party,” one freshman counselor speculated.
“The party supposedly wasn’t very rowdy,” Nordell said. “I don’t know whether that was true or not.”
Betty Trachtenberg, dean of student affairs, is approaching the situation seriously.
“If freshmen are serving each other [alcohol], it’s illegal,” she said. “We’re always trying to enforce the rules in conversations with the deans and counselors. That we’re not always successful is a fact.”
Trachtenberg held a meeting with all freshman counselors in Swing Space Wednesday morning where she informed the group that the party hosts would go to the Executive Committee, one freshman counselor said.
In an e-mail sent to Berkeley freshmen Sept. 17, Master John Rogers and Dean George Levesque outlined the rules regarding music and parties.
“Unauthorized parties in common spaces and the service of alcohol to persons under 21 is not permitted,” they wrote. “We are aware that all of these regulations (and more) have already been violated, and this notice serves as a first warning to everyone.”
While Rogers and Levesque emphasized regulations to the freshmen, they also made it clear that they still want the Class of 2006 “to have a good time.”
Following a couple of parties that Calhoun College’s Master William H. Sledge described as a little “ragged around the edges,” Calhoun has imposed a temporary moratorium on parties.
For just over one week, starting Sept. 18, there will be no parties allowed in Calhoun. This decision comes after a weekend in which a fire extinguisher was set off during a party.
Elizabeth Hermann ’03, one of the senior representatives on the Calhoun College Council, said they are hopeful that the moratorium will be lifted after this weekend.
The moratorium is in effect while students look into revising Calhoun’s official party regulations. Hermann, one of the students who has been involved in evaluating the current guidelines for parties said that the parties thrown over the weekend of Sept. 14 made Calhoun “think about how we can do a better job.”
“There was a lot of ambiguity about the way that people were thinking about parties,” Sledge said. He explained that students are writing the rules for themselves, trying to take a “new approach” to keeping parties manageable.
“Students have done a marvelous job thinking about this,” Sledge added.
The ad hoc student committee in charge of revising the rules suggested several ways to clarify the rules for how to throw a party. Anthony Cotto ’03, chairman of Calhoun College Council, said that some of the things the committee is considering include posting signs over fire extinguishers and asking the hosts of a party to patrol the courtyard in shifts. Hermann explained that they are looking into ways of making the sheet of guidelines less dense and easier to read.
Sledge denied that the moratorium was a crackdown but instead characterizes it as “an effort to make it possible to have parties.”
Sledge also pointed out that it seems to be students outside of Calhoun, perhaps students visiting Yale, who are causing the problems. Reformulating the rules is an initiative, Sledge said, to “find ways to anticipate those problems.”
There were several parties in Calhoun over that weekend including a large party on Friday night and several smaller parties on Saturday. Katherine Sims ’04 described the party on Friday night as “spilling into the courtyard.” She explained that the small size of Calhoun’s courtyard means that “it’s not easy to have a private big party.” She added, “it’s sort of everyone’s business.”
Sims acknowledges that revising and clarifying the regulations for parties might be a good idea.
“I have no idea what the rules for a party are,” Sims admitted.
09.19.02: High Street
The Thursday night migration from BAR to SAE late-night took a detour last week. SAE has decided to cancel late-night for the past two Thursdays as a result of the increased police presence on High Street.
Clinton Dockery ’03, the president of SAE, said that out of five parties they have had this year, two have been broken up by the New Haven Police.
“I don’t think the police presence has ever been this strong,” Dockery said, recalling the number of police cars that have shown up at other SAE parties this year.
“I think it really hurts the social life at this school,” Dockery added.
Without the usual destination, crowds congregated in front of the Oxford and Cambridge apartment buildings and on the steps and in the driveways by SAE until New Haven police arrived, ordering them to get inside or off the street.
A Yale senior, who was arrested later in the evening and charged with “breach of peace,” headed inside the Oxford to go to a friend’s house where he planned to spend the night.
“It wasn’t a party, just a bunch of friends,” he said of the apartment. “It was basically people coming off of the street, obeying the cops.”
He will appear in court at 9:30 a.m. today along with another Yale friend who is also facing charges. The senior said he intends to have the incident stricken from his record but that he did not plan on going to court with a lawyer.
“I’m not taking this as a joke,” the senior said. “I’m taking this very seriously. — I’m just going to go into court and speak exactly what happened that night.”
An Oxford resident said that when the police came by and told people to get off the streets, some of her friends congregated in her apartment. Three policemen consequently came into her apartment and told everyone to leave.
“[The police we
re there] to scare us and to treat us as if we were spoiled kids that didn’t know how to control ourselves,” another Oxford resident said. “That was basically the tone I got.”
One underclassmen at the Oxford that night described coming down the stairs holding a drink and being jerked by the arm by a police officer who ordered her to get into the police car at the curb.
“He just put me in the back of the cop car and left for at least 30 minutes” she said. “He pretty much forgot I was there, I think.”
According to residents, the police were in the Oxford apartments for “several hours.”
“They told the guys upstairs that they were going to get them evicted,” one resident said.
Several spectators recalled watching New Haven police handcuff students.
The Police Department could not be reached for comment.
The management of the Oxford said that “the situation is still under investigation” and declined to comment.
Approximately two weeks ago, Oxford management mailed letters to the lease signatories of individual apartments — in many cases that was the parents of Yale students — and put letters under the doors of the apartments warning against excessive noise, another resident said. Previous complaints had been made by area residents, that resident added.