Category Archive 'Safety Dance'

04 Oct 2012

You Can Dance If You Want To (But Not at Silliman College at Yale Anymore)

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A previous year’s Safety Dance


Wikipedia
‘s entry on Yale’s Silliman Residential College reads:

Each fall, Silliman hosts a Yale-wide 80s theme party called the Safety Dance, the largest dance at Yale.

The name “Safety Dance” derives from a a 1983 hit single recording by the Canadian New Wave band Men Without Hats.

But, as The Oldest College Daily recently reported:

Silliman College has decided to cancel all future Safety Dances after eight hospitalizations followed Saturday’s event.

In a Monday night email to the News following this week’s Silliman Activities and Administrative Committee meeting, Safety Dance organizers Nicole De Santis ’15 and Hannah Fornero ’15 announced that the “risk and liability of the Safety Dance are too great for us to continue having it.” Though new efforts were made at this year’s Safety Dance to help improve student safety, binge drinking and hospital transports still dominated the event. Silliman College Master Judith Kraus said three students were transported from the dance site to Yale-New Haven Hospital, and that another five were transported from several other locations on campus — marking a significant increase from last year’s five students in total. Krauss said that aside from those students transported due to intoxication, many others were excessively intoxicated and engaged in inappropriate behavior.

“There were countless incidents inside the dance, most of them unrepeatable, that can be directly attributed to drunkenness,” Krauss said.

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Goldie08 nailed it in the YDN’s Comments section:

Master K has always been the biggest sourpuss on campus. Just a curmudgeony old witch with a total no fun attitude. This quote blew me away:

““There were countless incidents inside the dance, most of them unrepeatable, that can be directly attributed to drunkenness,” Krauss said.”

It calls to mind Neidermeyer’s line from the disciplinary hearing in Animal House: “And most recently of all, a “Roman Toga Party” was held from which we have received more than two dozen reports of individual acts of perversion SO profound and disgusting that decorum prohibits listing them here”

    “…ambulances picked up the other five students from different locations around campus, attributing these cases to excessive pre-gaming.”

As would be expected when you ban or heavily restrict access to alcohol at the event itself. Experience has shown that when access to alcohol is limited, students will simply hide in their rooms and rip shots before mixing up some sauce in a gatorate bottle or flask for the road. They’ll drink it quickly leading to a rapid and dangerous rise in BAC.

This whole thing is ironic given subject matter of the Men Without Hats song from which the dance’s name was derived. It was the band’s response to curmudgeons like Master K who thought the drunken, raucous new wave dance parties of the 80’s were detrimental to society. “We can dance if we want to…” Except at Yale.

Lame.

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13 drunks got carted off to the tank after the major party of the year attended by roughly 2300 undergraduates. Oh, me! oh, my!

In my day, of course, when you got yourself blue, blind, paralytic drunk, nobody came to the rescue with an ambulance. You had your own private session of worshipping the porcelain god, and then you staggered off to bed, doomed to rise eventually to experience the kind of hangover that makes one seriously consider embracing Mormonism.

In those days, Yale residential college masters were all incredibly distinguished, internationally renowned scholars, and representatives of armigerous families whose first American settler had signed the Mayflower Compact. They were worldly men, who had won fame by publishing major studies of prominent canonical subjects like Shakespeare or Dante, or who had written the definitive diplomatic history of the Madison Administration, or who presided over the Yale Library’s cataloguing of the papers of Benjamin Franklin.

They were men of the world, operating at an Olympian level of serenity which could not possibly be disturbed by the petty follies or incidental misbehavior of lowly undergraduates.

The current Master of Silliman College is a professor from the Yale School of Nursing, forsooth! I always thought the existence of a Yale School of Nursing was a quaint anomaly instituted sometime in the Middle Dark Ages to provide a kind of minimal level access to females in the grim pre-coeducation era, probably as a budgetary expedient intended to lower slightly the university dining halls’ budget for saltpeter. We’d probably get more sophisticated residential college governance if the current administration were selecting college masters from the faculties of a Yale School of Taxidermy or the Yale Correspondence College of Beauticians.

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