After instating a moratorium on bar buses that effectively terminated all off-campus University sanctioned drinking events onNov. 16, Dean of Students Matthew Burns made the decision on Wednesday, Feb. 1 to reinstate buses to those events that have caused UR the least amount of student behavioral problems — formals, senior nights and events for participants 21 years of age and older.
Senior nights are defined as events traditionally planned and implemented by the Senior Class Council, which must seek approval for the nights through the Off-Campus Bar Bus Committee.
Formals are defined as events that are sponsored by a club or an organization, have predefined start and end times without looping buses and are only attended by students who are allowed to bring one guest. Groups planning formals will not have to submit proposals to the Off-Campus Bar Bus Committee for approval, but must instead have them approved by their adviser through the event registration process.
Events for participants ages 21 and over will be allowed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings only and organizations seeking to hold such events must also seek approval through the Off-Campus Bar Bus Committee, according to an email sent by Burns to Associate Dean of Students Anne-Marie Algier.
Burns explained that he wanted a quick turn around time between when he asked the committee to review problems and when he made a decision to reinstate them.
“It seems evident that there are some events during which we have had very few, if any, problems associated with them,” he said. “It is also evident that there are some events during which we have had problems that do not lend themselves to easy solutions.”
Burns said that formals and senior nights have fewer problems, in part because at these events there is a guest list delineating exactly who will attend; one persistent issue has been students who get on the buses at the end of a party, but did not take them to the event in the first place.
The partial reinstatement of bar buses is also intended to ameliorate the effects of
pregaming, which Burns said was occurring to a greater degree on buses that permitted students 18 years and over to attend.
“Until we can do it safely, we are going to continue the moratorium,” Burns said.
A small group of individuals will continue to review the remaining events to determine if and when they can be reinstated under a set of different and safer procedures, Burns explained.
Furthermore, Burns has requested that Monroe Transportation, the company from whom UR contracts buses, give an estimate for any damage, vandalism or cleaning needed as a result of student behavior. This fee will be applied to the relevant student organization. Failure to pay the fee will result in the revocation of bar bus and event registration privileges and could result in additional disciplinary action, according to Burns.
Students’ Association President and senior Bradley Halpern said that the reasons bar parties were suspended were reasons that most people agree with.
“Since [the moratorium], many students have embraced the principle of communal responsibility, and I have been pleased to see students watching out for their friends and exercising better judgement,” he said.
He added that problems have persisted and urging students to look at the reasons that Burns has kept part of the moratorium in place.
“Rochester students are better than that; we know how to have fun responsibly,” he said.
Many students applauded the decision, despite its restrictions.
“Reinstating the buses is just a way to make it safer,” junior Nuphar Lendner said. Lendner thinks it is a great idea and is pleased that formals and senior nights will happen regardless.
Sophomore Eric Semmel agreed.
“I think it’s good that the seniors are still going to be able to go out and celebrate their last year of college, since they’re of age,” he said.
Some underclassmen had different views.
“In my opinion, the University should go big or go home,” freshman Serra Sevenler said. “Age is just a number.”
“Just because you go to a bar doesn’t mean you have to drink, so everyone should be allowed in just like kids are allowed in restaurants with liquor licenses,” freshman Emily Dubin said.
Freshman Rachel Konowitch said she thinks the decision is somewhat of an “overreaction.”
“I think it’s strange since about half of the people still can’t go,” she said. “People under 21 can’t buy drinks anyway.”
Additional reporting by Karli Cozen, class of 2015.
Buletti is a member of the class of 2013.