The Office for Campus Life (OCL) has discontinued the practice of transporting students to a nightclub in Boston for Senior Night, colloquially known as “Senior Pub Night,” in response to disruptive behavior at past events.
According to the Senior Class Council, also known as Tufts University Social Collective (TUSC) Seniors, the claims that Senior Night itself has been cancelled are inaccurate. Senior Nights will still take place this year and are currently being planned by the Senior Class Council. However, “Senior Pub Night” will no longer be offered.
“There will be no longer a sponsored university event that had happened in the past of seniors taking buses to a bar in Boston,” Director for Campus Life Joe Golia said.
Golia cited numerous reasons for the OCL’s decision, including an incident at a Senior Night last year in which a few students confronted and acted aggressively toward an OCL staff member.
Golia explained that his staff were present at the events because clubs typically require a paid employee to be present. He added that OCL staff including himself had been confronted by students on numerous occasions at past Senior Nights, but that the incident last year was the last straw.
“I will never send a staff member to an event like that again,” Golia said. “I can’t … feel comfortable having a staff member, a university paid employee, be put through that.”
In addition to that particular incident, Golia noted that some, but not all, students have caused problems every year at Senior Night. Last year, Golia said, students began arranging their own transportation in the form of party buses, causing some students to arrive at the venue already intoxicated and cause trouble while waiting to enter.
According to a Sept. 2015 Daily article, the first Senior Night of last year was shut down early because students damaged equipment, attempted to steal alcohol and acted rudely to staff. In reaction, the Senior Class Council sent an email to the Class of 2016 warning them that negative behavior could cause Senior Night to be cancelled in the future.
“If behavior at senior events does not improve, future Senior Nights and events during Senior Week will be in jeopardy,” the email said.
Golia argued that there is no compelling reason to host events at clubs, especially considering the risks. He said that many students do not enjoy the events, that the environment is not always welcoming and that most other schools have discontinued them.
“It’s not about class unity … it’s not about Tufts tradition or building some kind of sense of senior ownership,” Golia said. “No one has ever been able to come to us and give us a reason for these types of events.”
The Senior Class Council agreed, adding that events in the past have been unwelcoming for some students and have included dangerous behavior.
“We, as the Senior Class Council, did not feel comfortable both hosting and financing an event where our peers felt unwelcomed, unsafe or offended,” TUSC Seniors wrote in an email to the Daily.
Instead, the Senior Class Council will use its funding from the Tufts Community Union (TCU) to plan a number of Senior Nights with different formats, including the potential for a 21+ event on campus.
However, many students have expressed disappointment that a “Senior Pub Night” will not be held this year. Zach Merchant and TCU Judiciary Vice Chair Michael Kalmans, both seniors, said that students’ frustration stems from the fact that the event is recognized as a part of the senior experience at Tufts.
To replace the event, senior Shana Gallagher is organizing an independent “Senior Bar Evening” on Oct. 13. Over 700 people have expressed interest in the event on Facebook. Gallagher said that the goal is to provide seniors with an unifying experience.
“I think that it is a shame that a tradition that brings together the entire grade, which is pretty rare, was canceled,” she said.
Gallagher said that, without university affiliation, students will have to provide their own transportation to the event. Even though she will be personally responsible for the event, she said that she is not concerned about behavioral issues.
Gallagher added that she is looking forward to the Senior Class Council‘s alternative event, and that her intention is not to protest OCL’s decision or compete with TUSC.
Kalmans, Gallagher and Merchant said that they heard from various unofficial sources that TUSC would not organize a bar event, and that there has been no official notice about the decision.
According to Kalmans and Merchant, a particular source of student frustration is the lack of communication from OCL and TUSC. Kalmans said that he understands the OCL’s rationale for the decision, but that a lack of transparency has made the decision unclear for many of his fellow students.
Likewise, Merchant said that he would have preferred to have heard about the decision through some means other than word of mouth.
“The biggest thing for me is the opacity,” Merchant said. “I wish they would have been upfront with us… and let us know what’s going on.”
Golia noted that OCL has not prevented the Senior Class Council from making an announcement about the event’s change, and he said that he understands students’ frustration about the lack of an announcement. He added, however, that students probably have not heard an explanation because Senior Nights historically have not begun until the end of October and because the TUSC Seniors are still organizing alternate events.
The Senior Class Council, which is made up of four seniors, said that it plans to begin communicating with the Class of 2017 in October about this year’s Senior Nights. According to the Senior Class Council, it did not make an announcement because it wanted to provide as much clarity as possible to seniors.
“We didn’t want to respond with a premature and vague answer about Senior Nights before receiving confirmation from the university concerning our future plans for them,” the Senior Class Council wrote.