A Small Step
Issue   |   Tue, 04/17/2018 - 21:28

A few short months ago, the campus was in uproar over a series of proposed changes to the college’s party policy. In the interceding weeks, this furor has abated for the most part, as students and administrators alike have been beset by all that comes with the end of the semester. However, even though such a softening of relations is a good thing in the long run, there has been seemingly little progress being made. Aside from the creation of a collaborative committee to address issues related to social life, comprised of students and administrators alike, and the issuance of a survey from the Office of Student Affairs, there have been few notable changes to the actual social life.

Although significant changes understandably require time and serious contemplation, there is at least one major source of trouble that the administration can address quite easily: the cumbersome and often maddening party registration system. Plenty of concerns regarding the current system were brought up at the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) town hall in mid-February, most notably the fact that parties have to be registered weeks in advance. This editorial is not here to argue against the registration system in principle (though many of these critiques are merited). Rather, the editorial board simply wishes to argue that at the very least, the approval/cancellation aspect of the Event Management System (EMS) should be altered. As currently constituted, one can register for a certain space up to a month out from the date of the proposed party but cannot register anything less than two days in advance. In principle, this is a fair policy, as it allows students living in the dorms where such parties are happening to make plans in advance and dorm residents to potentially reject a party registration if a major conflict arises. However, in practice, this results in party sponsors and registrants being cancelled on last minute, often less than two days in advance. Given the corresponding policy that restricts last-minute registration, individuals are often left with no options besides throwing unregistered parties or lying in their bed alone, as there are no college-approved paths remaining.

It seems a simple solution would be to send out confirmation emails further in advance, maybe four days, maybe a week. Granted, this places a slightly greater burden on RCs, who already have to deal with most of the complaints regarding party policy. Nevertheless, such a step would go a far way to both easing a practical problem that exists and restoring good faith in discussions between students and the administration. It may be a small step, but it’s better than no steps at all.