Misconduct prompts plan for administrative changes to Winter Bash
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Updated: Saturday, February 23, 2013 20:02
A multi-department administrative review of Winter Bash will likely result in major logistical changes to the event in the wake of alcohol-fueled student misconduct at this year’s event.
The review, conducted annually after most major campus events, has been underway since the Feb. 1 event at the Westin Copley Place Boston Hotel saw an unprecedented level of alcohol-related incidents, including public urination and over 15 students’ receiving treatment for excessive intoxication, Dean of Student Affairs Bruce Reitman said in an email to the Daily.
Several offices, including the Office for Campus Life (OCL), the Tufts University Police Department, Programming Board, the Department of Public & Environmental Safety, the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs and Event Staff will continue to re-evaluate the event’s purpose and develop plans to prevent such behavior at Winter Bash — and other campus-wide events — in the future.
“What many of us saw as problematic was the anticipation among the student body that the Winter Bash is a drinking opportunity,” Reitman told the Daily in an email. “There has been talk of a change in the focus of the event to make it special again.”
Reitman, in an op-ed piece submitted to the Daily explaining the review, cited students at the event who urinated and vomited in the hotel bathrooms and lobby, and behaved rudely to hotel and university staff at the event. He also placed blame on the “15 to 20” intoxicated students hospitalized at the event.
“This year was kind of in shambles,” Programming Board co-chair Christopher Blackett, a senior, said. “We expected some problems, but I don’t think we could’ve foreseen the level that occurred.”
Results of the review — and the expected changes — will not likely be made public until later this month, Blackett said, adding that cancelling the event is not an option. Instead, the event will possibly be replaced with a new format, like a formal dinner.
Any changes will include downsizing the event by limiting the number of tickets made available in an effort to address the high number of students treated for intoxication, Blackett said.
The annual, fall-semester Fall Ball event is also now subject to examination and possible changes in light of the transgressions at this year’s Winter Bash.
In addition, members of the university’s Alcohol Task Force are investigating the implications of the night’s events for campus-wide attitudes towards alcohol abuse and preparing solutions that might mitigate the frequency of similar incidents in the future.
The OCL and next year’s Programming Board co-chairs will likely begin planning next year’s event this summer, Blackett said, but the behavior of this year’s Winter Bash attendees’ may affect whether local venues will be willing to host a university event.