Student Council May Host Saturday Cookout: CASTAWAY
Future of Event Uncertain, Council Still Negotiating
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 01:11
In an emergency meeting last night, Student Council conditionally approved a proposal to host an event on Saturday, April 28 following the official Social Board Sendoff on Friday. The approval was contingent upon the fulfillment of several requirements, and administrators present at the meeting expressed genuine concern, citing issues with planning and time constraints. At the end of the meeting, seven Council members voted in favor, none opposed and five abstained.
A five-member Student Council subcommittee, led by Ryan Liegner ’13 and Charlie Fine ’12, has been working since the announcement of Sendoff’s date change to plan a Saturday event including food, a fenced-in drinking area and a contract with an outside security company to check student IDs and enforce school policies and state law. Student Council would host the event with volunteer support from Kenyon Student Athletes and student and Greek organizations volunteering their time. The event will be called Castaway.
Student Council approved the proposal on the condition that organizers resolve several issues raised during the meeting before the body’s next meeting on Sunday afternoon. Some Council members and administrators at the meeting were concerned about training for proper and safe handling of food, the layout for the fenced-in and cookout areas and limiting the amount of alcohol of-age students can bring into the area. They also asked the subcommittee to clarify rules for cleanup, the role of Maintenance and how they would recruit and train volunteers. The Council additionally required a contingency plan for the possibility of the event’s shutdown and asked the group to more fully consider liability issues with the outside security company contracted to work the event.
Liegner said the proposed timeline is reasonable, given the last-minute nature of the meeting. “It seems like an acceptable timeline for Student Council — of course it’s an exceptional timeline — but it seems like something they’re ready to work with,” he said.
Some are less confident, given the gravity of the issues left to resolve and the short timeline.
“Right now, if you’re asking me as an individual, I’m not absolutely convinced that it’s possible to do this and to abide by regulations and be safe and responsible,” Dean of Students Hank Toutain said. “What happened this evening, I think appropriately, is that approval of the event and funding for the event was made contingent on a variety of requests. They have to do with following rules, how you can do this safely and responsibly, and we’ll see later on whether it can happen or not. It won’t be for lack of trying.”
A Food Court on South Quad
Castaway, as proposed, centers on a picnic held on South Quad from 11:00 a.m. to roughly 4:00 p.m. AVI would cater an outdoor lunch followed by volunteers serving local hot dogs, quesadillas, pizzas, ice cream, wraps, snacks and candy. People Endorsing Agrarian Sustainability (PEAS) will help with the food.
Students 21 and over will be allowed to bring alcohol into the event, in keeping with the party policy used last year. Fences, with four entrances manned by an outside security firm, will contain the area in which drinking can occur.
Liegner and the rest of the subcommittee hope to preserve the Sendoff of past years. “To not have Sendoff on Saturday would lose the camaraderie and tradition that Sendoff — Sendoff on Saturday — represents. With nothing on Saturday, we run the risk of students resenting those who make decisions like this for them,” he said.
Liegner also said the subcommittee aims to show the student body that student government listens. “[That we are] making this effort to make sure something happens on Saturday says something about what our school can do when we have a difficult and complex situation and turn it into something beneficial — wanting to show that student government can do something good, something important for the sake of the students we’re meant to represent,” he said.
Contesting the BFC’s Bylaws
The night before the emergency meeting, the Business and Finance Committee voted to approve the subcommittee’s emergency budget request, sending the entire proposal to Student Council. The request, which totaled $3,194.40, included $1,130 for food and catering and $1,814.40 in security fees for both an outside firm and Campus Safety.
Perhaps the most complicated issue concerns the potential presence of alcohol at the event and whether the committee can reconcile that with BFC bylaws, which prevent it from allocating funds to events involving the consumption of alcohol.
Though students responded well to Liegner and Fine’s presentation at the BFC meeting Tuesday, Director of Student Activities and Greek Life Christina Mastrangelo strongly opposed the BFC’s decision to go against their bylaws regarding alcoholic events.
Fine explained that the event was given a BYOB permit, allowing students to consume their own alcohol, but not for it to be served. “[Associate Dean of Students] Tacci Smith extended this permit because of the special circumstances of the event, seeking to replace a tradition that was lost,” he said.
Mastrangelo took serious issue with the BFC’s decision. “There is never a question as to whether or not we should fund an event with alcohol. We don’t even give time and energy to those types of requests,” she said. “And they don’t come our way because it is clear that that’s not something the BFC funds ... I don’t agree with the money being used in the way that it is being used and I think it is really unfair to groups that have come to the BFC all year for things that follow the bylaws 100 percent.”
Student Council President Ryan Motevalli-Oliner called the event difficult to categorize. “It’s a BYOB event,” he said. “So we’re telling students they can bring alcohol, but the event is not that … we could have had a barbeque anyway on the South Quad without anything else. … We could have just had the cookout, and students would be out there.”