Posted by Gabe Weintraub and Brendan James
For the second consecutive year, Moorebid Ball has been shut down early, this time due to dangerous overcrowding in the Rec Gym. The festivities came to a sudden close at approximately 12:30 a.m.
A campus safety officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, summed up the incident with two words: "Bad venue."
The change of venue from Case Center to the Williamson Sports Center did little to facilitate the monitoring and control of the event.
"One thing that's clear is that we have not adequately addressed what is the most appropriate venue," said Rochelle Calhoun, dean of student affairs, who was away from the college last weekend. "The ability to have an event of that size and an appropriate venue for it to be safe in continues to be a primary issue."
In the corridor between the Rec and Dance gyms, approximately 1,400 students formed a mass of bodies that left many simply unable to move and travel to and from the different gyms. With a no-reentry policy in place, students had little freedom of movement.
"I was almost trampled downstairs," says Lucy Greer '12. Another student, Rachel Bier '12 said, "I felt like I was going to suffocate in the middle of all those people."
According to VP of Residential Affairs Aaron Shifreen, a volleyball tournament that took place earlier in the day prohibited full use of the larger gym, which might have allowed for a more stable venue.
Moorebid Ball was held originally at Moore Hall, an off-campus site at 32 Union Avenue in Saratoga Springs that served as a residential hall for students until 2006, when the college sold it to NorStar Development. The venue for Moorebid then changed to Case Center up until this year.
It took roughly 10 minutes to get from one gym to the other gym, something that would normally take individuals only a few seconds. But with the heavy traffic from two streams of students going opposite directions, the area became clogged, hot, sweaty, and eventually near-motionless.
Significant overcrowding of the corridors between the two gyms caused stress among the attendees. In some cases students audibly begged each other not to push or shove. People voiced aloud their concern of harm wrought by all the commotion.
More details to come.