The first Senior Night for the Class of 2016 was shut down 45 minutes early after students at the event committed various disciplinary infractions, putting Senior Nights under review for the remainder of the academic year.
Director of the Office for Campus Life (OCL) Joe Golia said some students among the 700 seniors who bought tickets for the event — held on Sept. 17 at Whiskey Saigon in Boston — attempted to steal alcohol from the venue’s bar and damaged DJ equipment.
“A small group of people [were]…rude to [university] staff, staff at the club,” Golia said.
Whiskey Saigon, a nightclub, did not complain to Tufts about the event, and there is no evidence that the university’s relationship with the venue has been damaged, Golia said.
A Sept. 25 email to the senior class from the Senior Class Council, which sponsored the event, explained that some students were removed from the venue for theft and destruction of property, as well as for bringing alcohol into the venue.
The email also warned that future Senior Nights may be cancelled if similar behavior continues at other senior events.
“If behavior at senior events does not improve, future Senior Nights and events during Senior Week will be in jeopardy,” the email read.
According to the email, individual students identified for poor behavior are being held responsible for violating Tufts conduct policies and have lost the privilege to attend future senior class events.
Students under disciplinary review are facing punishment for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and lack of cooperation, according to Judicial Affairs Administrator Mickey Toogood.
“Students [who violate policy] may not be able to attend future senior nights, either the next one or all of them for the rest of the year,” he said.
All disciplinary actions are based on specific student behavior and the student’s previous disciplinary record, according to Toogood.
Toogood could not comment on individual student cases, but said the university may have to issue reprimands to some students. According to the new scheme of disciplinary sanctions, a reprimand follows a warning and is non-disciplinary.
Golia said the vast majority of students behaved according to policy and that many were not even aware of the disorderly behavior until after the event.
“I will say there’s probably a good 600, 650 [students had] no idea anything…happened, had a great time,” Golia said.
Julia Turock, president of the Senior Class Council, explained that, though the disruptive behavior was not characteristic of most students at the event, some students had acted disrespectfully.
“There were…people cutting the line, not listening to us when we asked them not to cut the line, just generally giving attitude to our staff,” Turock said.
According to Golia, this past Senior Night was marked by more disturbances than coordinators have seen in the past. Other Senior Nights over the past several years have been incident free.
“It was more than we’ve seen in a long time,” Golia said.
Turock speculated that increased hype about the event may have led to more drinking and an increase in disruptive behaviors.
“Older students tell younger students, ‘Oh, it’s so fun; it’s crazy; you get drunk,’ and that perpetuates annually so each year it gets a little bit more intense,” Turock said.
Golia said there were two “party buses” that students rented independently for the trip to Whiskey Saigon, something OCL has never noticed before.
“A lot of students came very intoxicated to the event,” he said. “Some students weren’t let in.”
Senior Alexander Kasemir agreed that the event was described by other students as “a potentially wild party,” but did not think it had received more hype than the Senior Nights of past years.
“[I had heard that] seniors get to act like freshman again,” he said.
“[Seniors who had gone last year] said it was kind of like a higher class frat party and used it as a chance to kiss the person they didn’t get to kiss freshman year,” senior Roselle Iorillo said.
Another possible explanation for the rowdiness at the event was the fact that this first Senior Night occurred earlier in the semester than it typically has in past years, according to Turock.
“This was the first time people were really seeing each other,” Turock said. “It was one of the first weekends where people were partying.”
Turock said determining exactly what the problem was and trying to fix it is an important factor for the future of Senior Nights for the Class of 2016. This will be a topic of discussion among the Senior Class Council, the OCL and the Dean of Student Affairs Office.
“We’re having conversations around whether we think what happened was because of the series of factors, like it being earlier in the year, like people just turning 21, or [if it is] a pervasive cultural problem [for] the Class of 2016,” she said.
According to Golia, it has not yet been decided whether the planned November Senior Night will be canceled.
If similar behavior occurs at the November event, however, Senior Nights in the spring will be canceled and there may also be alterations to Senior Week activities, Turock said.
“I’d be disappointed and angry at my classmates [if Senior Nights were to end],” Iorillo said.
Both Iorillo and Kasemir said that they did not think it was necessarily fair to punish the entire class for the actions of a select few.
“I would not be surprised if future Senior Nights were canceled just because of a few people,” Kasemir said. “I don’t think the entire class needs to be punished.”
Golia shared this sentiment and said he does not want to cancel Senior Nights.
“We don’t want to take it away,” Golia said. “But it will really be up to the students and the classes.”