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Editorial | Senior Nights not the place to look for discrimination

Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 01:01

The complaint leveraged against Senior Class Council Senior Night venues that restrict attendance to students of legal drinking age is an unnecessary debate and, while it might have a basis in reason, it stretches the concept of discrimination too thin.

The complaint, which the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Judiciary will discuss in an open meeting tomorrow evening, alleges that the Senior Nights held in venues that only permit entrance to those 21 years old or older are ageist and discriminatory against seniors who will not have reached legal drinking age by Senior Week.

The Senior Class Council is responsible for planning events that take into consideration all members of the senior class. Senior Nights, however, have always taken place in bars, which must abide by the national legal drinking age — they are restricted by a law, not a rule conceived or enforced by the class council.

The Senior Night tradition is not above skepticism, but allegations of discrimination should not be thrown around so lightly. The class council has done its best to accommodate underage seniors with other, non−restricted events. There also remains the fact that, according to the class council, none of the Student Activities Fee funds they are allocated go towards paying for Senior Night, and instead the events are funded by ticket sales to of−age seniors. There is a time and place to allege discrimination: this is not it.

The complainant is admittedly in a difficult situation. She and her fellow underage students are still seniors and Jumbos, and the fact that they are barred from attending an event with their friends because of their specific circumstances is regrettable. But Senior Nights, while enjoyable, are simply not wholly indicative or symbolic of Senior Week or the identity of Tufts seniors. Furthermore, opposition to the national drinking age laws that prohibit a small group of students from attending a senior class event is indicative of a dispute with the law itself, and should not reflect the class council or penalize the rest of the class. Senior students’ identity should be defined by shared struggle and triumph, moments of uncertainty in the face of opportunity and personal success — not a night at the bar.

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