Student beach residents gathered in Gonzaga Auditorium last Thursday to discuss the injunction for Clam Jam that limits the amount of people who can legally gather at Lantern Point.

Fairfield Police Captain Joshua Zabin reminded students that the injunction is in place as a consideration to Fairfield residents who live at the beach year-round. He said that, because Clam Jam is an “alcohol-fueled event,” it can lead to a breach in the neighborhood’s safety.

“We recognize that you’re going to have a large group event; we aren’t ignorant to that and you have a right to gather,” said Zabin. “But we need to keep it to a point where it doesn’t encroach the neighborhood with disorderly conduct.”

In an effort to keep disorderly conduct to a minimum, a court-ordered injunction was issued in 2001. The injunction mandates that no more than 250 people can be on the Point at any one time, a rule that is enforced by the practice of using wristbands to identify students who don’t live at the beach.

In past years, Fairfield and Bridgeport police have had a strong presence at the event in order to ensure the safety of both students and Fairfield town residents.

“We’re not here to hurt anybody, but if it gets to the point where he have to shut it down, the truth is, we’re gonna shut it down,” said Zabin. He also warned students about any activity concerning drugs, underage drinking or a violation of the injunction, as these can all lead to student arrests at the event.

Vice President of Student Affairs Thomas Pellegrino spoke with the students about how Clam Jam could be managed within the boundaries of the court ordered injunction, instead of shutting it down, which happened last year. He mentioned issues like trespassing on private property and serving alcohol to underage students.

“I get paid through your tuition dollars to make sure students are healthy and safe and the best way I can do it is to make [Clam Jam] not happen at all, but I understand that it will happen,” Pellegrino said.
Dean of Students Karen Donoghue ‘03 spoke to students about the consequences they could receive by attending Clam Jam. According to Donoghue, students off-campus are still bound by the code of conduct.

“Every year I’ve had a student sit in front of me as I tell them because of their behavior at Clam Jam, they are not participating in Senior Week … but worse, I’m telling them they cannot participate in graduation,” said Donoghue.

As the meeting came to a close, the administrators and Zabin left the auditorium, giving students the chance to field an open discussion about Clam Jam. Many students, including Maggie DeMoura ‘14, appreciated the opportunity for conversation.

“It was nice to see that the administration was trusting student leaders from the class of 2014 to have a voice in the process,” said DeMoura.

Senior Dominic Paolino left the meeting with an understanding of what both the university and the town expect from Fairfield students.

“Ultimately, the mutual goals of both the police and the beach students are to promote a safe event that causes no disturbance to the neighborhood and honors the tradition of Clam Jam,” he said.

Even though neither the injunction nor the wristbands are anything new to Fairfield students who have attended Clam Jam in the past, some student beach residents still view them as a necessary evil.

“I understand the sentiment behind the wristbands, but I’m not sure they’ll work,” said Grace Leonnig ‘14.

Senior Andrew Kringas echoed the sentiment by adding that Clam Jam, as a Fairfield tradition, is here to stay: “No matter what they do [Clam Jam is] going to happen, especially now that we live in these houses,” he said. “[It’s] much different than being underclassmen; we actually belong there.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.