Unruly student behavior has prompted the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate to cap the number of attendees at Fall Ball, a move that TCU President Brandon Rattiner has called disappointing but necessary.
Organizers are also considering moving Winter Bash in January to an off-campus location.
The Senate this week will give out no more than 2,500 tickets to Friday’s Fall Ball. The tickets will be free of charge and will be available at the campus center this week.
The Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) proposed the restrictions on attendance after numerous complaints and safety concerns came about during previous dances at the Gantcher Center, where the events typically take place.
Last year’s Winter Bash was marked by rowdy behavior from highly intoxicated students, including public urination and verbal and physical harassment of volunteers.
Rattiner said that TUPD insisted on implementing new procedures to avoid similar problems at Fall Ball. “[The ticket limit] was really something that the Tufts University Police Department and a lot of safety organizations at Tufts were adamant about,” TCU President Brandon Rattiner said. “The last two years have shown that the way that we do Fall Ball is not sustainable, as past events have been over capacity.”
The TCU Senate Executive Board approved the TUPD demand, but Rattiner emphasized that the decision did not come from the Senate. Instead, the body’s approval resulted from a lack of alternative methods for ensuring safety during the dance, he said.
“I’m disappointed that TUPD thought we needed to go down this road, but I understand their concerns for safety,” he said. “I think it’s valuable to have an event that everyone can attend.”
No official attendance numbers have been documented at past dances, so Rattiner said he does not know whether the 2,500 tickets will meet student demand.
“It’s just a risk that we are going to have to take this year, as we didn’t have any other options besides scrapping the event,” Rattiner said. “For one year, it’s worth getting a gauge on Fall Ball and seeing how it works out.”
The Senate and Office of Campus Life (OCL) have set up additional events on Friday night, including karaoke and a hypnotist show, to give students other on-campus options that night. Extra security teams will also be on hand to keep the crowds at Fall Ball more under control.
Rattiner added that while a ticket cap may not be ideal, he believes that everyone who wants to go to Fall Ball will be able to.
“I’m a little bit disappointed that we couldn’t come up with something that is open to the entire school, but I’m confident that 2,500 will be enough to accommodate everyone and still provide a fun atmosphere,” he said.
Junior Amanda Schulte said that while she sees the benefits of instituting a ticket limit, she’s also nervous that some of her friends may not be able to get tickets to Fall Ball.
“I think it’s probably a good idea to set a ticket limit in order to prevent injuries or health problems that come from overcrowding,” Schulte said. “At the same time, I hope that the ticket limit doesn’t prevent too many people who want to go from attending.”
Organizers are also discussing whether to move Winter Bash to an off-campus venue to better accommodate attendees. Programming Board, the student-run umbrella organization in charge of planning and running Winter Bash, is exploring possible venues in the area, according to member Sarah Habib.
“We would like to make something that is a nice experience for everyone, and it is also nice to change things up a bit,” said Habib, a junior. “Gantcher isn’t designed to hold that many kids. If we went to an off-campus venue that was designed for Winter Bash, it would run like a real event.”
While Rattiner agreed that moving Winter Bash away from Tufts would solve a lot of last year’s capacity-related issues, he said there was no guarantee that the Senate will have the funds to do so. Though the Senate is not responsible for planning the dance, it is in charge of finding funding for the event.
A final decision has not been reached on whether to change the venue, Habib said, and discussion is ongoing.
“While nothing is definite yet, at this point in time we are working closely with the administration to see what is best for Tufts University,” Habib said. “We will be in the planning stages until the end of this semester.”