Last year’s struggle to maintain two Walls each weekend has not disappeared. Many students look forward to dancing the night away on weekends at the student-run parties. These events require the New College Police Department (NCPD) and Student Affairs to supervise these events both in person and policy, but unfortunately for those keen on getting groovy Friday and Saturday night, schedules for Walls and security personnel do not always match up. In the cases where these schedules do not match, Student Affairs may host Wallternatives.
For this Fall term’s 16 weekends, two have only one Wall each, 11 have two Walls each and four have none at all and. Out of the 11- two Wall – weekends, two were canceled for Hurricane Irma and three are bordering either Fall Break or Winter Break, which typically means there is less participation by students.
To ensure the safety and security of the NCPD staff, a minimum of two New College officers supervise Walls. This quota for officer availability is the consequence of an incident where someone not affiliated with New College “had a beer bottle and attempted to break it to create a weapon,” a witness statement in the 2008 incident report read. Neither Chief Kessie nor Dean of Student Affairs Robin Williamson expressed that the two officer policy came from state statute.
“We cannot ensure the safety of the property and of the people here on campus with one police officer working. At anytime, less than one police officer is a problem,” Kessie explained. Williamson clarified their position that “it would be irresponsible to not have appropriate personnel in place to keep our students safe at all times.”
“A party is not an emergency, and I cannot have officers changing their schedule ruining their weekends and their family life because someone wants to have a party. I have to keep the peace, and plus they have a union [which] has brought this up before and I think they have been very patient,” Kessie added. “We need to be spending our money wisely.”
“Staffing here [NCPD] is very limited,” Captain Kathleen Vacca reiterated.
Besides the staffing issues, Williamson cited apparent limited student interest in the two weekly parties.
“Walls and wallternatives only draw about 40-50 students. So, there are approximately 620 on-campus students who are finding outlets on their own,” Williamson said. “I think that is great. Sarasota and Bradenton have many great opportunities for fun, culture and engagement. Our team will continue to provide and support all sorts of programs and events.”
“At the beginning of the semester, NCSA folks receive a document with all of the weekends that are going to be staffed by police. Those are the weekends that can be filled by walls, and the rest become designated as wallternatives,” Vice President of Student Life and Catalyst staff writer, Tim Manning wrote through email. “I think the silver lining to look for-amid all of the frustration about there being less walls-is that wallternatives and walls draw out different crowds. [Though] I don’t know that anyone has kept good track of that in the past, it’s for sure something to keep track of going forwards.”
First-year Nailah Davis shared their views on Walls so far.
“I think they are a lot of fun, I heard they aren’t as prominent or like ‘Whoo Hoo’ as they were a few years ago,” Davis said. “I am more concerned about the people who live in Pei that don’t want to party because they have [Walls] right there in palm court. It is unfortunate that they have to deal with that noise.
“Personally I’ve enjoyed the Wall more when it was in the Old Mail Room […] maybe because it was dark and I couldn’t see anyone.”
“Ya I like to go to Walls, if they are in the Old Mail Room they can be a little too crowded, and I might just walk through or stand outside of them,” Second-year Caitlin Matthews shared. “I like like to at least check them out and see how they are going.”
“I don’t really go to Walls. They don’t seem like much fun,” first-year Olivia Green said.
According to a poll sent out by the Catalyst, out of 108 submissions, 20 percent agreed that Walls are more like “unsatisfying noise coming from outside my room than a fun time to hangout and dance”. However, not one submission expressed that Walls were an unhealthy thing to have on campus, with 58 percent answering “Yes! Two Walls a week is what I need” when asked “Do you care that some weekends will have only one or no Walls”.
The New College community is unique because it is small. Campus size makes consideration for each student more important. Though students will be hard-pressed to fix the regulation of Walls or help the NCPD find more police or overtime funds through administrative avenues, there is room for students to allow harmony between those who want to groove and those who want to snooze.