Students and faculty discuss changes to Moorebid Ball: Ad hoc committees to determine the fate of Moorebid this semester

Posted by Julia Leef

Student and faculty ad hoc committees continue to explore various options to deal with Moorebid Ball, with ideas that range from renting downtown bars to canceling the event itself.

Moorebid Ball, the annual Halloween all-campus dance, was shut down early again this October, this year because of overcrowding and potentially dangerous conditions in the Williamson Sports and Recreation Center where the event was being held for the first time. Members of the administration and the student body have since been working to devise a solution that will make Moorebid safe and enjoyable for students.

"I think our full intention is to have a direction for Moorebid by the end of this semester so that we can help people understand what we are thinking," Dean of Student Affairs Rochelle Calhoun said. "I'm assuming that we'll be in a broader community discussion at some point soon."

Student Government Association Vice-President for Residential Affairs Aaron Shifreen '13 served as the spokesperson for the student ad hoc committee, which is comprised of SGA and Inter-Hall board members, as well as non-member students who expressed an interest in the process.

Shifreen and the other members of the student committee met with members of the faculty committee, including Calhoun and Robin Adams, interim director of Leadership Activities, once last semester. "It's very hard to get all those people in the same place at once," said Shifreen, explaining why the meetings haven't been more frequent.

The student committee spent the time in between semesters discussing different ideas and possible changes to Moorebid. These proposals have yet to be reviewed by the faculty committee.

"We decided that probably the biggest problem is the maximum capacity of the event. The event is too popular to be open to everyone on a campus like this," said Shifreen, adding that an off-campus venue is one of the considerations the student committee discussed – an option that would involve providing transportation for students.

Other options include adding more events to the Halloween weekend, and increasing the number of and emphasis on larger-scale events, such as Junior Ring, throughout the fall semester and even encouraging the bars in downtown Saratoga Springs to host Moorebid.

There is one final option that the ad hoc committees must consider, which is canceling Moorebid altogether.

"That's probably an option," Adams said. "I don't know if it's the right one, but it's certainly an option. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, and we can't do that."

"The administration has told us that they won't expressly say no to what we decide unless there's an extreme risk to the safety of the student body," Shifreen said. "The event must change, however, as there is no venue that can hold that number of people."

The committees must also consider methods to control the large number of students that usually attend the ball. One of the more popular proposed solutions is to charge students for tickets in order to control the number of people who attend.

"I think a few of these things are possible," said Adams in reference to the student ad hoc committee's suggestions. "The key thing would be to have a limited number of tickets, knowing we don't have the space to do what people want."

Another issue in the process of revisions is the College's Alcohol and Other Drugs policy, which was met with criticism from the student body last semester. When asked about the effect that the revised AOD policy might have on Moorebid, both Shifreen and Adams said they were unsure how much it would affect student drinking.

Although nothing has been scheduled, Shifreen says he hopes that there will be a meeting between the two committees within the next few weeks, after which a final decision about Moorebid will be reached. "Something will be decided this semester," Shifreen said.

Shifreen encourages students to contact him at ashifree@skidmore.edu if they have any ideas or suggestions regarding Moorebid.

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