Anne Friedman ’25 and Belén Yudess ’25
Staff Writer and Social Media Manager
On Oct. 29, Scripps Associated Students (SAS) hosted the 5C Halloween party, “Halloween: Claremont After Dark”, that was planned to run from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. The $26,000 event was shut down by the Office of Student Life (OSE) and Campus Security at approximately 10:45 due to a large group of students storming the barricades and entering the party.
An anonymous Scripps senior recalls the chaos that ensued moments before the entrances were rushed. “I saw this rush of people and I was a little confused because it just looked very strange. They were all running in, but I didn’t think anything of it because it’s a party and sometimes there are mosh pits,” said the senior. “The gate was open and they weren’t checking on wristbands anymore, so I just walked in. I started hearing a lot of shouting and I saw three, maybe four Camp Sec officers and the hired security officers walking very much with a purpose towards the stage and the music had stopped.”
Once OSE and Campus Security formally announced the cancellation of the party and asked everyone to leave, the Scripps senior recalled the pushback by party goers, noting many of them refused to vacate the area. “Something like 200 people rushed the gate, so there were a lot of people at this party. I’d say some close to 80 [people initially left]; that’s when I got pushed to the ground,” said the senior. “I think it was Camp Sec who said, ‘We will start taking ID numbers if you don’t get out of here.’”
Following this announcement, the anonymous student said they saw a hazy, smoky substance in the air, later learning it was from a fire extinguisher which had been set off by an unknown party. “It was really cloudy and people were running. And then I saw one of the hired people, it wasn’t Camp Sec, holding a fire extinguisher and chasing people out.”
The party’s execution was the culmination of an already challenging planning process. A former SAS member explained the miscommunication between Scripps administration, herself, and Vice President of Student Affairs (VPSA), Kaitlyn Chen ’24.
“We (Kaitlyn and I) planned out the whole party, and we requested the upper two lawns of the quad triangle to be included, so there’d be more space. Then they told us you are going to need the fences. [Their reason for this was] because there was a man that wandered around during matriculation, and [it is easy for] people to wander in from nearby and check out what’s going on, which poses a huge security threat,” said the former SAS member. “I [agreed to the fences] and said let’s just fence in this whole area. [OSE] said yes, go forward. We planned out all these activities; we started talking to vendors; we started negotiating. Then two weeks later I get this random email on a Friday saying, ‘Your space has been denied, you can’t use that space.’”
Eventually, it was decided that the party would be hosted on Bowling Green Lawn and extend onto Elm Tree Lawn, which could only accommodate 800 students maximum. It cost SAS $2,000 to secure the permits for the space. In addition, administration mandated six foot fencing ($6,000), wristbands ($168), Campus Security ($1,200), porta potties ($3,160), and EMT ($2,000).
SAS party planners suggested using an electronic system to keep attendance, which SAS believed would increase the accessibility of the event. However, administration was set on wristbands.
As the SAS party planners continued coordinating the Halloween Party, they felt that additional responsibilities were being placed on their shoulders. “OSE is supposed to coordinate with Campus Security and they asked me to do it, so I contacted them and they responded saying, ‘You’re not supposed to be contacting us. That’s not your job, that’s the admin’s job,’” said the former SAS member. “I started to notice we were doing things that they get paid for.”
The preparation and failure of the Halloween party is a representation of the greater tension that exists between SAS and administration.
“I think there’s a lot of problems that exist [between SAS and admin] and I feel hopeless,” said Chen. “I think they’re so thinly stretched that [admin] don’t have the capacity to care. It’s clear that they do not care enough to help students feel welcomed or feel like they matter.”
Following the premature shut down of the Halloween party, SAS and administration had a meeting to debrief and discuss the event.
“The canvassing [we did about student’s experiences at the party] was to try to build a strong argument for the wants of students and how students felt that night. We had a lot of personal testimonies and evidence to present to them,” said Chen. “Unfortunately, the meeting was terrible. We presented them with the responses and the data. They said, ‘Okay.’ Then, they started gaslighting us about how we did not police the students enough, how we weren’t there to tell students to behave, and how we did not do this right. Their immediate reaction was pitting it as an us versus them type of situation.”
The anonymous Scripps senior also felt that the administration’s response email regarding the party pinned responsibility for the fiasco on members of the Scripps community.
“That very passive aggressive email that all Scripps students got felt like they were just blaming Scripps students for everything that happened because nobody else got an email,” said the senior. “None of the other schools got an email, which I think is crazy.”
Chen elaborated that during the meeting, SAS acknowledged that students played a role in leading to the party being shut down; however, SAS expected administration to acknowledge their own part in creating an environment that facilitated the students’ decision to storm the party.
Although Chen understood the administration’s responsive decision to shut down the party, she believed that this event showcases a broader issue.
“I think in the past few years, police brutality has been a very large conversation in the United States regarding perpetuating systems and systemic discrimination,” said Chen. “[It is] a failure of the system that is supposed to be in place to keep people safe. We brought this up as a larger issue during the meeting as well.”
Chen was frustrated with admin’s response to this conversation. “It really disappointed me that they were very unresponsive to it. Nobody really said anything the whole meeting,’” said Chen. “[These larger systemic topics went] over their head. [This happens when] SAS tries to bring up topics about Core as well, and marginalized communities’ experiences with discussions about race.”
Chen also noted that larger conversations regarding administration’s unresponsiveness to proposals or concerns from Scripps students stem from the unapproved senior trip to Las Vegas, as well as the lack of a formal statement regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade. “It feels like [administration is] trying to uphold this traditionalist purity of our godmothers, but the climate has changed a lot in the past 40 years,” said Chen. “It feels like a misogynistic idea of girls who need to be protected and kept safe and sheltered, because otherwise guys will go lusting around. We come to a women’s college to be empowered, not to feel babied. [It feels like they’re trying to] protect and shelter us from the outside world instead of encouraging us or teaching us to stand up and to be strong as a community.”
Image Source: Alyssa Wend ’24