Posted by The Editorial Board
Saturday night will mark the third reincarnation of Moorebid Ball in as many years. This year will be the first time the Halloween tradition takes place in the Big Gym of the Williamson Sports Center-it was held in Case Center in 2010 and split between the two Small Gyms in 2011. After the past two attempts ended with early termination due to student inebriation, overcrowding and poor planning, the Student Government Association faced a wave of new obstacles in organizing this year's event, and consequently was forced to limit the number of attendees allowed at the celebration to 800 while also ticketing it at a hefty price of $10-two moves that have been met with student dissatisfaction and have led to concern that Skidmore is diminishing one of its few and most important all-campus traditions.
Talk of skipping Moorebid has been common amongst Skidmore attendees due in part to the $10 charge for and limited distribution of tickets. The Occupy Moorebid movement on Facebook seems to have arisen for similar reasons.
Less students attending Moorebid means more drinking in the dorms and apartments-places lacking supervision. While students will have an easier time pacing their alcohol consumption without having to fret over Moorebid's no re-entry policy, they will not have Campus Safety officers directly watching after them as they participate in one of the more heavily celebrated (and inebriated) weekends of the year. While these new policies may have been faced rather begrudgingly by the student body, it is worth noting that without them Moorebid probably would not be taking place at all.
The SGA has worked tirelessly since last year to ensure that one of Skidmore's most storied traditions carries on. After attempting to reserve the unavailable Saratoga City Center, a facility that could easily accommodate everyone, the SGA was forced to deal with the few remaining cards on the table-either limiting the number of attendees, or canceling the event. The Big Gym was also originally unavailable due to a volleyball tournament that will be taking place up until just a few hours before Moorebid, but the SGA was able to secure the facility at an additional cost-hence the charge.
According to Jess Sonnenfield, vice president for Residential Affairs, the SGA is traditionally budgeted $5,000 for Moorebid, however, this year $4,000 will go to facilities alone to cover overtime wages just to get the space clear after the tournament. The extra $1,000 was not nearly enough to cover the remaining costs of the event.
The 800-person limit in the Big Gym (two of the three basketball courts will be used with one still reserved for athletic purposes) still includes more students than Case Center could accommodate at its maximum capacity of 700. Sonnenfield added that the limit would probably only exclude about 200 people based off of the number of students who came last year, which was approximately 1000.
The SGA will also be implementing the "Cinderella rule" (in which all unused tickets become void at midnight and put back into the pool of remaining tickets being sold at the door) as a means of achieving maximum inclusivity. Some are concerned that their night will be ruined if they arrive, ticket in-hand at 12:01, while others who did not purchase a ticket ahead of time will be forced to stand in line outside in the cold until roughly the same time. While this unfortunately may be the case for some students, the simple solution is to buy a ticket in advance and show up on time. It is not the SGA's fault if you fail to do either of those things.
Even with the rationale behind these policies addressed, the sad truth is that the limited attendance allowed at Moorebid will only further depreciate one of the few remaining and most popular campus-wide celebrations. By staging the first Fall Fun Day this year, an all-inclusive community event, the SGA hoped that it would take some of the heat off of Moorebid, but the fact of the matter is that we already have Fun Day in the spring, and duplicating an already-successful event does not make up for the lack of an optimal community celebration for Halloween.
Skidmore was recently listed as the fourth-best college to be on in the autumn and Moorebid was specifically cited as a major reason behind it. If 'The Best Colleges,' the website that compiled the list, knew that two-thirds of the student body will be excluded, Skidmore probably would have seen itself further down on the list.
Of the current Skidmore student body, only the Class of 2013 has seen a successful Moorebid Ball. As the tradition continues to twist into new forms and be subject to more debated policies, it will continue to lose its meaning.
It's a delicate balancing act trying to continue on with what has been deemed a failure for the past two years, and it is in no way the SGA's fault that Moorebid has to be limited. The decline in the tradition of Moorebid has little to do with the SGA, the administration, disputed policies and inebriated students but can be attributed to a bigger, systemic problem. Skidmore does not have a facility that can accommodate the entire school, and until it does we will continue to face these types of dilemmas.