AAS Convenes Town Hall on Campus Social Scene
Issue   |   Wed, 09/14/2011 - 00:30

Last Thursday the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) and the Dean of Students Office partnered to hold a meeting to discuss the impact of the new Massachusetts law on sprinkler systems in social facilities on The Amherst Parties (TAPs).
Because of the law, the basements of Crossett, Stone and Davis can no longer be used to host the college-sponsored parties.

The AAS brought together a panel of College administrators including Director of Environmental Health & Safety Rick Mears, Senior Associate Dean of Students Charri Boykin-East, Dean of Residential Life Torin Moore, Chief of Campus Police John Carter, Legal and Administrative Council Paul Murphy, Dean of Students Allen Hart, Assistant Dean of Students Hannah Fatemi and Director of Facilities Jim Brassord to discuss solutions to the issue.

The administration came up with a list of nine other possible locations for TAPs, including Seelye House, Hitchcock House, the Alumni Gym, O’Connor Commons, the Morris Pratt Ballroom and others. During the meeting, however, concerns were raised about the suitability of many of these locations.

A student pointed out that the last two TAPs held at Seelye were broken up by the police due to over-crowding. Dean Hart conceded that some of the locations, including the dorms on the Triangle, have much smaller capacities, but said that the responsibility is on the students and on the Social Council to organize parties in a way that met the needs of the student body.

Several students raised the possibility of using dorms on the Hill to host parties, but Zack Gerdes ’14, the Resident Counselor of Tyler Dormitory, said that the residents on the Hill are not enthusiastic about holding TAPs, and the neighbors close to the dorms are likely to object to the increased noise from the TAPs. Dean Hart said that discussions are underway with the College’s neighbors about the increase in parties in places like the Hill and the Triangle, but he maintained that the College cannot control if the neighbors make noise complaints.

A common sentiment among students was that with the renovations of common space on the Triangle a few years ago and the closing of Crossett, Stone and Davis, students are losing party space. Dean Moore said that new construction projects, such as the renovations in Seligman House, is taking into account these concerns and that the College’s construction plans included creating “neighborhood spaces” for social events.

Although the meeting produced no definitive solutions to the TAP problem, student moderator George Tepe ’14 called the meeting a success.

“We allowed Dean Hart to explain the entire situation to the students and then we opened the floor up to questions and comments,” Tepe said. “Students brought up some great new ideas and now the onus is on the AAS to attempt to implement them.”

The AAS has created a task force, led by Jess Sidhu ’14, to find and implement solutions to the TAP problem.