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TNC "Will Be Back" In Different Form

March 25, 2010

Michael Wilner
TNC "Will Be Back" In Different Form

To the shock of most, CMC’s Dean of Students Office “indefinitely” canceled Thursday Night Club on the eve of Spring Break two weeks ago, begging the question of how the future student nightlife of the college will take shape. Officials Jim Nauls, Mary Spellman and Jefferson Huang of DOS were keen to quell worries in interviews with the Forum, promising the event’s return as soon as next week. But DOS and ASCMC agree the event will not return in its traditional form. Multiple parties share responsibility in the policy shift. Fundamentally, students – and uninvited visitors – have been making a mess of the college’s dorms and quads. Out of $20,000 in damages quoted by Story House over the past year, 65% has been the byproduct of TNCs. “It doesn’t make sense for us to continue this pattern,” Dean of Students Mary Spellman said. “We’re not opposed to the event, but things need to be managed differently."

Spellman added: “There’s reasonable damage and there’s throwing a chair at a window.”

Jim Nauls, Assistant Dean of Students, expressed strong feelings that the event had grown out of control. “Unless we do something about this, something drastic could happen,” Nauls lamented. “This kid that got his face beat in last week… it could have been a lot worse. It was a product of people not paying attention.”

The problem is twofold. Though big parties are often apt to cause damage, TNCs are usually hosted in spaces unsuitable for big parties. The result is overcrowding, impossible enforcement, and spillage into a secondary party outside the dorm. “The people congregating outside are just going to have to stay at home,” Nauls said.

Thursday Night Club, or TNC, was established only four years ago, originally as a small party revolving around a keg.

After informing them of TNC’s immediate suspension, DOS approached the new ASCMC administration with broad demands. In order to continue, the parties must be more tightly controlled, guests must be more strictly monitored, and damages that persist must actually be paid for.

Indeed, one major issue for the Dean of Students has been the debt ASCMC has accrued. Each year for the past four years, the student government has built up a massive Story House bill, putting off receipts until the end of their term – and often dumping them onto the next government, which is forced to pay a bill they don’t fully understand. The new ASCMC administration cannot then appeal the damage receipts, as most of them are from parties months past. “There’s also the issue of whether there’s downward pressure to meet your damages when you’re not going to pay for it – you’re just going to dump it,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Jefferson Huang. “Hansell inherited a bill; Isayas inherited one; Tammy is now inheriting one. It’s everyone’s problem.”

Story House has grown frustrated with the system, and has pushed the Dean of Students Office to press ASCMC on payments on an immediate basis.

“The expectation has been changed, and we’ll meet them on their expectations,” ASCMC Vice President Chris Jones said. “In the very least, we’re meeting the level that’s been met by past administrations. And if they change expectations, they should expect some adjustment time.”

Currently, the new ASCMC administration has been given a bill of $13,000 in damages for TNC parties.

“It’s not just because there’s a large debt owed. That in and of itself wouldn’t be enough for us to cancel [TNC],” Spellman added. “It’s just that, every week, more and more, there’s damage. And there’s a building attitude of, when the party ends, people can just leave garbage sitting. It’s getting worse.”

Jones and ASCMC President Tammy Phan would not rule out contesting portions of the $13,000 bill. But they were more concerned with taking preventative measures throughout their term, which started this week.

“The real problem is not the fact that the bills haven’t been paid,” Phan noted. “It’s the fact that we, as students, have caused thousands of dollars in damage over the course of a year. It’s that they have to be paid in the first place.”

Phan said, “We’re leaning towards any effort that will allow us to have TNCs, period.”

Jones went on to push back against the method of charging from Story House. “We’ve been mis-assigned charges very frequently,” he said. “It’s checking your rental car before you take it out of the lot. A lot of this is not ours.

Alexander Reichert, Dorm Activities Chair, has drafted a proposal that DOS has accepted as adequate. In response, DOS has lifted the ban on the assumption that his plan will succeed. But the implication is that ASCMC now holds full responsibility of what happens, and that the future of Thursday parties rests on their ability to curtail assault and vandalism.

“The first step is to increase security,” said Reichert. “The second step is to be more stringent on who we allow into our parties.” Reichert noted that TNCs would be smaller, and strictly CMC-only, with a possibility of a guest list for friends of CMCers from the other four colleges. But one goal is to avoid “Pitzer students coming in, and drinking the alcohol they never paid for,” he said. “We are open to making these 5C parties, but the other colleges will have to contribute.”

All TNCs will now card at the door for CMC identification, and will be fenced off. “Fencing sets a precedent,” Reichert added. “These parties can’t just be open and sprawling.” ASCMC will also be hiring security other than Campus Security, which has proven ineffective.

While Nauls, Spellman and Huang were originally in disagreement over whether to truly cancel Thursday Night Club for good, they have agreed to work towards a revised version of the event – knowing that parties will occur every Thursday, anyway.

“We were ready to actually pull the plug on TNCs to say stop,” said Huang. “It really came to a boil for us shortly before the ASCMC elections. I told Jim I thought doing that now would enter us into the issue of candidates, so we waited until after the elections were over.”

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