Editorial: Cancelling Senior Pub Night could hurt local residents too

Last week, the Office for Campus Life (OCL) confirmed that it will be discontinuing the tradition of “Senior Pub Night” due to students’ disruptive behavior at past events. For many current and future Tufts seniors, the announcement was nothing short of a major disappointment. For years, Pub Night was considered a staple of the senior year experience at Tufts. As part of the tradition, seniors have been bussed to bars or clubs in Boston multiple times each semester for university-sponsored nights with their graduating class.

While it is clear that Pub Night’s cancellation is wildly disappointing for students who will no longer get to participate in school-sponsored fun, the change also brings consequences for our neighbors in Medford and Somerville. Pub nights have traditionally redirected loud, late-night gatherings and rowdy partying to removed locations. With their cancellation, it is nearly guaranteed that there will be more parties and celebrations in Tufts’ surrounding neighborhoods. Curbing alcohol-related events paid for by the university will not stop seniors from partying, and local residents are the ones who will bear the brunt of the shift.

Edward Beuchert, a local Somerville resident and co-founder of the West Somerville Neighbor Association (WSNA) expressed frustration towards the university’s decision. “There’s a great deal of concern in our community about how students entertain themselves at night,” Beuchert wrote in an email to the Daily. “It seems the fewer officially-sponsored events there are, the more parties there will be at off-campus residences … The university needs to … significantly step up its efforts to provide safe and fun entertainment for students that’s not centered on the off-campus consumption of alcohol.”

Somerville resident Jim Bossi, a fellow Board member at the WSNA, added to Beuchert’s statement. “An uptick in off-campus partying is something no one in the neighborhood looks upon favorably and would need to be addressed,” Bossi wrote in an email to the Daily. “Perhaps other events, more constructive [ones], could be set up by the student council working with the administration.”

If the OCL is to phase out Pub Nights, it needs to ensure that they are replaced by viable alternatives to off-campus parties, not just for students’ sake, but for the sake of Medford and Somerville residents as well. According to a Sept. 23 article in the Daily, the senior Class Council does plan to use its funding from the Tufts Community Union to arrange senior nights with different formats, some of which could be 21+ events held on-campus.

The frequency of these events should match or exceed those of Pub Nights in semesters past, and most importantly, they should be outings that seniors will actually be excited to attend, whether alcohol is present or not. Bowling excursions; river cruises; food truck extravaganzas; local museum takeovers; safe, controlled events in on-campus spaces that feature alcohol; this is the chance for the class council and the administration to listen to student recommendations and get creative. Fun, dry senior Nights that still draw a good percentage of the class could prevent a few more disturbances of the peace on a few more Friday nights in our host communities, while preserving a modicum of the lost tradition and helping to foster class cohesion.