On Dec. 10, 2014, gunshots were reported near Toad’s Place. Some, perhaps falsely, associated the incident with Toad’s — wanting the establishment to be shut down. Unfortunately, we have no evidence to link them. But even the weekly disorders that arise from Toad’s are sufficient grounds for its expulsion. The nightclub may serve a superficial function, but it is nothing more than a nuisance to all concerned.
Though New Haven’s security has improved, its crime rate is perhaps the biggest deterrent for prospective students from attending Yale and of currents students from exploring the city. Toad’s only adds to this problem.
In March 2011, multiple shots were fired inside Toad’s, and two men were hit. The event trapped over 40 Yale students. In March 2013, Quinnipiac students got into a physical brawl around Toad’s, leading to the shattering of Yorkside Pizza and Restaurant’s glass. Most recently, last November, a drunk man from Toad’s assaulted a few Morse students, some of whom are my friends. The intoxicated man found a way to the periphery of Morse and left a student wounded. These incidents occurred because people, too intoxicated and muddled after their Toad’s adventures, could not control themselves. If Toad’s did not provide a venue so close to the heart of Yale’s campus, these events would likely not affect students.
New Haven is not the safest of havens. But to allow these kinds of unnecessary events to occur so close to the heart of Yale’s campus without any substantial repercussions is an incredible injustice. It is a slap in the face to all the students who have to deal with these issues on a regular basis.
Clearly, administrators want to paint a new image of New Haven to attract prospective students, parents, faculty and visitors. For example, recently opened stores, such as Emporium and Kiko, are marketed to an upscale audience. Yet only a few yards away sits Toad’s, the most dilapidated and morally bankrupt building in New Haven.
It’s also a nightmare to walk down York Street to reach Morse or Stiles, especially on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Littered wine bottles, beer cans and plastic bags dominate all the walkways and the streets around Toad’s. I’ve been cursed and I’ve seen pedestrians shoved by the people who linger outside Toad’s. Odors of urine and beer are a weekly staple. Even my shoes get a taste when I mistakenly step on overnight beer or vomit stains. These rowdy scenes do not just desecrate York Street; they infiltrate into the dorms and libraries of Morse and Stiles.
We live in a supposedly protected and beautiful campus. Yet, traversing near Toad’s resembles nothing of the sort.
I realize that Toad’s is an escape for many students from the stress of everyday life. While I have never stepped into its boundaries, I know many of my friends who have and they have enjoyed their visits. However, it does not mean the social life at Yale will take a blow if Toad’s is no longer present.
Most universities don’t have a club in their proximity and their students do just fine. Students who wish to drink can go to self-contained bars such as Box or fraternities on High Street.
Furthermore, ridding Yale of Toad’s will allow students to venture into New Haven and discover new places that are currently ignored. There are many bars and nightclubs similar to Toad’s deeper in New Haven that don’t interfere with the lives of students who don’t want to partake in such frivolity.
I also understand that Toad’s often partners with clubs to raise money for humanitarian causes. I applaud the owner for his thoughtful actions for our community. However, these deeds are only papering over the larger problems with the establishment. We could find other avenues such as churches or local restaurants that could play host to such fundraisers.
Toad’s problems are not new; they have been present ever since it opened in 1976. Like most other students, I lived away from it during my freshman year. Yet, when I moved into Morse, I had to cope with Toad’s disgusting presence because of its proximity to my college.
Unquestionably, Toad’s is an incredible problem for Yale’s image, security and, most importantly, students. If administrators are so conscious of Yale’s image and are so inclined to help students, why haven’t we shut this institution down? It’s unfair to students who didn’t ask to live in Morse or Stiles to have to live near an unsafe and rowdy nightclub for three years. Yale has been engaged in legal disputes with Toad’s recently — the University should use this as a pretext to shut the club down.
Akash Salam is a sophomore in Morse College. Contact him at email@example.com.