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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

New Sayles Dance policy put to test

< extensive review, the new Sayles Dance policy was finally implemented with explosive results.

The first and only Sayles dance of the term occurred on the Saturday of sixth weekend, following the final show of the student-run dance group Ebony II. With a ramped-up level of security, including security outposts stationed around Sayles and OneCard checks at the door, the dance acted as a test run for the new policy.

Yet the big question remains: how did the new security measures work out?

“The presence of security at the Sayles Dance was effective in creating a more secure environment for students,” said Nadine Sunderland, assistant director of Student Activities.

“One concern expressed by students is that anyone can just walk into the Great Space and attend a Sayles dance. By having security at each of the main entrances, we reduced the probability of uninvited guests attending and potentially causing issues.”

In fact, she said, some students commented on “feeling more secure [with] trained professionals at the door.”
Sunderland also pointed out that attendance at Sayles Dances over the past few years has increased dramatically. As a result, the Student Activities Office viewed the new security measures as an adequate form of crowd control, “just in case someone needs help or acts inappropriately, especially when you have hundreds of people in a relatively small place,” she said.
Sunderland also noted that there were a large amount of guests in attendance at the dance.

“Surprisingly, there were approximately 100 non-Carleton students,” mostly from St. Olaf, who were sponsored by Carleton students.

“We hope that students are taking the process seriously,” she said. “When a Carleton student sponsors a guest, [he or she is] responsible for the actions of that individual until they leave Carleton property.”

One of the original reasons for the changes to the Sayles dance policy was the “hype” surrounding the events, which often creates a high-risk atmosphere. Sunderland acknowledged that the new policy is not perfect.

“There is no magic bullet that will fix this. We all want Sayles Dances to continue, but what can we do as a community to make these events safe, respectful and something we can all be proud of?” she asked.

Students were split on whether or not the new policies were successful in minimizing student risk. Helen Strnad ’14 believed that having only one dance per term elevated the hype surrounding the dance, rather than alleviating it.

“It means that everyone’s going to want to be more intense than normal because this is their one chance to do so this term,” said Strnad. “If we have two or three, people don’t need to go crazy, because they know that there’s another one soon, so they can sit one out if they want.”

Alsa Bruno ’12 agreed that having one dance per term has its downfalls.

“We funnel all the intensity of all the other Sayles Dances we’re ‘missing’ into one night of crazy, freak-nasty intensity,” he said.

“It’s a Sayles dance. People want to have a good time. The more there are, the more time people have to try it out. If there’s only one a term, people will wait for the day it comes, pre-game heavily and then party their anxious tooshes away.”

Sunderland said review of the new policy is an ongoing process.

“In the coming weeks and well into winter term, students will be invited to discuss these concerns and engage in what we hope are meaningful and honest discussions,” she said.

“Adding security at the doors is not going to prevent these types of things from happening. It is a larger community issue that Carleton students need to acknowledge and respond to.” Sunderland said that overall the majority of student feedback has been positive.

“Some students thought it was too crowded,” she said, “but most had a great time.”

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