Despite controversy and prohibition from the administration, the members of the junior class gathered in the Townhouses area Saturday to celebrate their annual “Around the World” event.

The event endured for several hours before the flags and costumes were retired. Following tradition, Townhouses represented countries from all over the world.

Dean of Students Karen Donoghue, in cooperation with Residence Life and Department of Public Safety, said she was unable to work with students to plan this event with university sponsorship.

According to Donoghue, “There were two different meetings that tried to bring student leaders that had come forward as potential people to kind of run the event to kind of monitor the event in the sense that we fence off the area, we still allow outdoor drinking, but to sort of control the area,” however she was not directly involved in this process until after any plans to cooperate with students had fallen through.

After the event’s failure to gain university sponsorship, anonymous members of the class of 2015 organized the event a through a Facebook page, where Townhouses could decide what country they would represent.

Donoghue said the Dean of Students’ Office “had reason to believe that even though we asked them not to run it, they were going to run it,” so when the Around the World Facebook page was forwarded to Donoghue, the university decided that additional ResLife staff and DPS should be present to help monitor the event, even though it was not university sponsored.

“At no point am I saying that students have no right to socialize and I clearly articulate that but they have to adhere to policies and unless they’re working in the parameters of the institution in a controlled environment, they can’t drink outside.”

Around the World 14_2

In addition to the regularly staffed Resident Assistants, according to Rowe-Allen, seven ResLife staff members were present and approximately three to four staff members were not dressed in the red polos that signify an RA on duty. According to Assistant Director of Public Safety John Ritchie, DPS mandated extra staff members to work the event.

Despite Fairfield’s policy that prohibits open containers outside, students still brought solo cups, beer cans and bottles outside, which resulted in DPS alone documenting over two dozen people, according to Ritchie.

However, the problems with this year’s event went even further than violating the open container policy. In recent years, Around the World has become a growing concern because of property damage and excessive drinking.

“It’s not the students who are drinking a beer or two that I’m concerned about, it’s the ones that are doing multiple shots, abusive consumption of alcohol that goes on, which unfortunately includes hospital transports,” said Donoghue.

Along with medical transports, Ritchie added, “There was vandalism and there was unacceptable behavior as a result of this incident. The townhouse residents are going to be billed for the overtime costs and the damage; our patrol car was damaged and that’s going to be a couple of thousand dollars.”

Donoghue also expressed her concern about the costumes that students wore to represent their countries.

“What I’m still concerned about is that people cross the line too quickly when they’re wearing costumes and stereotyping is wrong,” said Donoghue. “There’s a fine line with what’s politically and socially fine and what’s wrong and what’s offensive.”

Junior Paige Maloney said the administration was right to address the issue of cultural insensitivity in the email Donoghue sent, but said “that should be the extent of action taken by administration. Ultimately, students are going to dress and behave as they like.”

With the large DPS and ResLife presence at the event monitoring student behavior, some students said they became agitated because they had hoped to spend more time outside celebrating.

“I do understand why DPS and ResLife had to be at the event, but I do think sometimes it was excessive,” said Allison MacCune ‘15. “I know that from hearing stories and seeing pictures from previous years, this event was not so heavily monitored and people were allowed to celebrate outside.”

“I think a lot of people got along with public safety but it’s frustrating to have them around,” said Sean McDermott ‘15. “But of course they have to watch out for us and make sure we’re safe.”

Students said they understood that ResLife and DPS were needed because it was an event that was not supposed to take place.

“It looked as if they students were trying to push the limits of what they could get away with,” said John Scarpulla ‘15. “It’s sad because if there were better coordination between the students and authority, then it could have been way more lenient in terms of what could have gone on that day.”

Like Scarpulla, Donoghue too had hoped that students would have pursued a partnership between administration and the students.

“I wish the event did not happen because if I felt the event was going to be a good and safe event, then we would have partnered … the better scenario is planning for it, partnering with our students, putting in safety parameters,” said Donoghue.

Donoghue  said she was at present at Around the World for a few hours, observing, watching, monitoring and making sure that it was controlled and safe. “I would applaud efforts in future years, if any students would like to work with us to organize a safe and controlled event on a beautiful spring weekend up at the Townhouses.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.