Scripps 4C Party Brings Controversy Over COVID-19 Related Restrictions and Theme

Ellen Hu ’24
Copy Editor

On Nov. 6, Scripps College held its first school-sponsored party since the beginning of the pandemic. Students arrived in beautiful dresses and formalwear to walk the red carpet and dance the night away.

Yet, there was a catch. Limited event capacity kept some students who wanted to join from attending the event.

“I was expecting for there to be an email,” said Archa Dileep ’24. “I saw there was the scanner thing after, and I was going to try to get tickets on the day that it sold out.”

The event, planned by a committee consisting of Scripps Associated Students members and the Office of Student Engagement, occurred on Nov. 6 from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.. In addition to a dance floor and red-carpet photos, photobooth options, as well as food and drink, were provided.

SAS 5C Events Chair Hannah Tiedemann ’21 started planning the event at the beginning of the semester, although more detailed logistics were put in place one month before the event.

SAS considered feedback from students provided on Oct. 5 to decide the final party theme: the gala. Students were encouraged to dress formally for the event.

The impacts of COVID-19 on different high school experiences impacted how the theme was chosen. Many students from the classes of 2024 and 2025 lacked a prom due to COVID-19 shut-downs while students from the classes of 2021 and 2022 did have the traditionally formal dance.

As a result, some controversy arose once different students were consulted. “We wanted to do something where it was giving the first-years and sophomores the proms that they didn’t really ever get in high school while also appeasing the seniors and juniors who didn’t really want to feel like they were back in high school again,” Tiedemann said.

In an email sent out on Nov. 2, SAS clarified that formal and semi-formal wear was encouraged but not necessary. “No one will be turned away for attire and we apologize for the line in the original flyer that made anyone feel otherwise,” they wrote.

“We just heard a lot of feedback either off of YikYak or through student voices,” SAS Vice President of Student Activities Kaitlyn Chen ’24 said regarding the reason for sending out the clarification email. “Since there were so many unanswered questions and SAS is here to bridge the gap and be transparent for students, we thought it was a no-brainer to send out an email answering those questions.”

In the past, each member of the Claremont Colleges hosted a school-sponsored party each semester. Harvey Mudd College decided not to participate in these events during the Fall 2021 semester due to COVID-19 concerns. As a result, only students from Scripps, Pomona, Claremont McKenna, and Pitzer were able to register for tickets.

200 tickets were given to Scripps students, and 100 tickets were reserved for students from each of the other colleges. In total, 500 tickets were allotted.

While the spots filled up by Nov. 2, students could sign up for the waitlist and would be notified if there was an extra ticket. On the day of the event, students were required to show a wristband and student ID from their institution to enter the area set aside for the party.

“Scripps administration originally gave SAS an event capacity limit of 400 students at the Gala due to their COVID and safety concerns,” SAS wrote in their Nov. 2 email. “We were really disappointed in this and pushed very hard to try to increase the capacity number but were only able to increase it to 500 people after a month of negotiation. We were told that this was partially because if three or more COVID cases are traced back to an event the county gets involved which potentially jeopardizes the school’s ability to hold future events.”

As SAS members navigated conversations surrounding the limited capacity, the discussion did not end when the event started. “We did end up coming up with a system at the party for the people who were on the waitlist to circulate in and out of the party,” Tiedemann said. “We did our best … and it was a lot of people putting their heads together to try to come up with a way to make sure risk management was happy and students were happy as well.”

For students who did not try to get in on the day of the event, these last minute changes were confusing in retrospect. “I understand the LA county stuff, but at the same time I know people got in without having a ticket,” Dileep said.

“We do recognize that there were certain miscommunications, misunderstandings, and flaws in the way certain things were done,” Tiedemann said. “I’m hoping this week too when I hold feedback sessions that I can hear more about that.”

Students who would like to provide feedback about the event can attend Tiedemann’s feedback session that will occur in the next few weeks. More information will be sent out through email.

Image Source: AllEvents