All University sanctioned off-campus social drinking events have been cancelled, effective immediately, according to an email discontinuing bar buses, which was sent by Dean of Students Matthew Burns to Associate Dean of Students Anne-Marie Algier on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
By virtue of cancelling the bar buses, UR has also cancelled bar parties, formals and senior nights.
“After a careful and thorough review of the process by which we have utilized bar buses and the problems and incidents associated with this process — and especially student misconduct during this process -— I am directing you to discontinue all bar buses until further notice, effective immediately,” the email stated.
Algier, who chairs the Bar Night Review Committee, said she immediately notified “groups with prior approved events.” She also said she notified members of the committee, which is made up of students and staff.
“I don’t think it’s that surprising given what’s been happening,” Algier said, adding that this is “not something we like to do.”
The Bar Night Review Committee was formed in 2008 after a series of misconduct incidents induced a temporary moratorium on bar buses while policies were reviewed. The misconducts that initially jeopardized the bar buses included one incident involving a knife, vomiting on buses, pregaming before events and students cramming onto buses without regard for safety regulations.
Such dangerous incidents, specifically episodes of vandalism and physical altercations, were once more beginning to increase in recent weeks and led to Wednesday’s decision.
“The things that caused this to go away were things nobody would defend,” Students’ Association (SA) President Bradley Halpern said.
Burns’ email suggested that the actions taken by the committee, including a push for open communication with students, were not enough.
He wrote that three years ago he asked the committee to look into problems with the bar buses and to recommend potential changes.
“I find that I must again make that request of you,” he stated to Algier Wednesday, stressing that this news should come as more of an invitation for conversation about policies than a punitive action.
Burns asked that Algier invite all members of the UR community to share “advice, guidance and suggestions” and then stressed the importance of looking into the matter as soon as possible.
“While it is impossible to know for certain exactly how long this task might take, I ask that you gather the group and start this review with all due speed,” he concluded.
Junior Alina Czekai, a member of Kappa Delta sorority, which had a bar party planned for Thursday night, said it is important that the UR community repects the administrative decision.
“Although students are understandably frustrated that a social outlet is suspended, the well-being of the students is of utmost importance,” she said.
Kappa Delta sorority president Kaitlin Carragher said students are not respecting school policies.
“It is putting a huge strain on both the University as well as the organizations hosting these events,” she said. “Bar parties are a huge liability for the school, as well as the students in charge of risk management, and we are not respecting the necessary rules put in place.”
Carragher said that her sorority is being reimbursed for the event and that the office of the Dean of Students “has been extremely accommodating throughout this unfortunate process.”
She agrees with Burns in the need for an expansion of discussion.
“If we ever want bar parties back, it’s really important that students are proactive as opposed to reactive in this situation,” she said.
Senior Alissa Brill, a senator-at-large and SA representative on the Bar Bus Committee said that she anticipates a large quantity of negative responses, but stressed that the cancellation is more about negative student conduct and the need to stop the escalating negative behavior.
Burns’s decision primarily comes from a desire to change students’ perception of the appropriate way to act, she said, though she admitted that it is a small minority of people who are causing the problems.
“I think the campus needs to recognize that the culture needs to change,” she said, adding that policy chance is not the root of the issue — the root is student conduct.
The SA urges all students to give their feedback on a form available on the SA website, as, according to Halpern, this is essential to productive change on the controversial issue.
To read the SA’s statement, click here.
Additional reporting by Jason Silverstein, class of 2013.
Buletti is a member of the class of 2013.