Upon logging into Stagweb Tuesday morning, seniors were greeted with news many found disappointing: Fairfield will not be holding a 200 Nights event this year.

“It is unfortunate that 200 Nights was cancelled, as it was an event that many seniors enjoyed in past years,” senior Class Council representative Lou Spadaro ’06 wrote in an e-mail.

According to the Stagweb announcement, sent by Spadaro, Steve Tyburski, and Matt McKenzie of the senior class council, “The University will not sponsor this event due to liability issues.”

Spadaro added that “we [the class council] have heard a number of feelings expressed by our classmates who were upset hearing about the cancellation.”

The news follows a letter sent by adminstrators late this summerto beach students and their parents informing them that they would not be allowed to hold Mock Wedding events later this year.

“We’d like to have some things during the year to make our senior year memorable other than the Grape,” said Melissa Ringer ’06 and Kara O’Connell ’06.

Many students are unfamiliar with the history of the event, very little of which actually involves the University.

“Events like 200 nights never used to be ‘official’ University events,” said Dean of Students Mark Reed. “They were run and organized by individual students, who often assumed significant personal risk and liability.”

According to Matt Dinnan, associate dean of students, the University only became involved about five years ago when a Fairfield student signed a contract with an outside catering company for a 200 Nights type of event. The student told the company that the event was a university function, which it in fact was not.

The catering company contacted Fairfield for verification and payment, and it was at this point that the university stepped in. They decided to assist students by providing buses and making sure that there was an EMT and Public Safety presence at the event.

Dinnan said that at the event there was very little food, and that emphasis seemed to be on alcohol. It was Fairfield’s hope if FUSA and the Class Council were involved in planning 200 Nights in the future, the event would gain the structure it lacked.

“Despite some good intentions and efforts,” Reed wrote of FUSA’s involvement, “it was not ultimately successful.”

Spadaro said the class council was told in early September that 200 Nights would not be sponsored by the University “due to issues arising from previous years.”

Last year’s 200 Nights was held aboard a boat that left from the New York Harbor. Transportation was provided by the University. On its trip back to Fairfield, one of the buses was involved in an accident before becoming lodged under an overpass on FDR drive, a cars-only roadway leading out of Manhattan. Students on the affected bus did not return back to campus until after 6 a.m.

According to Dinnan, the bus incident was not the sole factor in the university’s decision to step out of the event this year, but it did add another dimenson.

The largest issue was the fact that the main draw of 200 Nights seemed to be drinking, rather than socializing.

“The event, as I understand it, became an excuse to consume excessive amounts of alcohol, often with few controls in place,” Reed said.

Dinnan met with senior Class Council representatives Spadaro,Tyburski, and McKenzie last week to discuss the issue of 200 Nights.

“We looked to see if we could possibly hold the event at another location closer to the school or perhaps on campus,” Spadaro added, “however after a meeting with administration, we found out it would be unable to occur.”

According to Spadaro, the final decision to cancel the event was made by administration.

“After evaluating the problems that occurred, we don’t have the mechanisms to sponsor an event the way we would like to,” Dinnan said. “Because of that, I think it’s best not to sponsor it.”

Some students understand the reasoning for the decision.

“I’m disappointed that it’s not happening this year,” said Molly Harris ’06, “but Fairfield students act irresponsibly and it’s their fault the University won’t sponsor it.”

In the Stagweb announcement, the Class Council representatives wrote that they “are currently exploring alternatives to get the Senior Class together, as a whole, with an event that will be entertaining, uniting, and safe.”

Spadaro said that the Class Council hopes to plan an event for the spring semester that will be sponsored by the school.

“We hope that a good alternative will come up,” said Ringer and O’Connell.

Current ideas include a trip to Foxwoods or a ski trip weekend. Student are encouraged to share their ideas through Oct. 24.

“The purpose of a class event is to bring unity to a class,” Dinnan said, “but not with an emphasis on drinking.”

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