“The University has decided no guest tickets will be sold for Clam Jam this spring,” Dean of Students, William Johnson, Ph.D. sent out in a school-wide email Monday, Feb. 13.
The mass message served as a long-awaited follow-up to a previous email sent on Tuesday, Dec. 20 of last year that discussed “Santa Con,” a student-organized holiday-themed gathering that took place ten days prior.
In Johnson’s letter, he brought attention to “poor behavior” that circulated throughout the Fairfield student body crowd during the afternoon of the event.
Johnson noted three reasonable expectations that were broken: avoiding any disorderly conduct, carrying open alcoholic containers and trespassing on private, residential property.
Specifically, he wrote “Individuals were observed urinating in public and misusing alcohol to the point of being incapacitated. Additionally, there were reports of physical assault, littering and trespassing.”
The more troubling result of Santa Con was that the high numbers of intoxication “resulted in a significant and unnecessary strain on town resources–namely the Police Department and Emergency Medical Response System,” which reportedly put the health and safety of both Fairfield students and town residents at risk.
At the end of his original message, Johnson noted that “The University will take action to address the collective behavior of the student body [but] at this time, we have not determined exactly what measure(s) will be taken.”
Almost two months after the original email was sent, Johnson declared the University’s decision: “Individuals who are not current Fairfield University students will be unable to gain admittance.”
While the event has always been strictly designated to be a junior, senior or graduate student event, these guest tickets have not only been used for non-Fairfield affiliates but have also been used to invite underclassmen in previous years. Those who are not a part of the 2023 or 2024 class year at Fairfield, however, will not be able to attend the event this year as the additional passes are prohibited.
In the days that have followed Johnson’s email, upperclassmen have been voicing their frustration with the new and unexpected rule.
Junior Meghan Morrissey noted that “While I understand the Dean’s concern about the safety of the students, especially at another big event like Clam Jam, I think Clam Jam is a very different event because it is monitored by the University, unlike Santa Con.”
Morrissey continued that she believes “students should still be allowed guest passes as the behavior at Santacon can not all be blamed on Fairfield students. There were several students from neighboring schools, as well as non-college students.”
More notably, some Fairfield University students like Dermot Warner ‘24 were not in attendance for the events that transpired at Santa Con and are still facing the consequences.
“I was studying abroad in Ireland last semester so I wasn’t here for Santa Con,” Warner shared. “It would have been nice to have the option to invite a friend to Clam Jam.”
Senior Madison Clancy also expresses her “extreme disappointment.”
“I do not think that it is fair to punish the junior and senior class for actions that were not caused by them and have it reflect our next memorable school event,” Clancy stated. “Many of my friends, myself included, are upset that we can’t bring our significant others to join in on this fun event.”
Senior Hailey Johnston echoed this. “Getting the news that Fairfield decided to not allow guests to Clam Jam this year was incredibly disappointing. I think that it is unfair to pin the irresponsible actions of many on such a small group of students who were largely not the cause at all.”
Johnston noted further, “As a senior, I have been looking forward to this year’s Clam Jam since 2019 and since then have planned on bringing my significant other who has supported all of the other Fairfield events throughout the years,” and continued, “I am incredibly disappointed by Fairfield’s decision to punish seniors in our final few weeks at this school and hope they can take the time to reflect on different ways this situation could have been handled.”