By Isabella McShea
First Block has been full of challenges for us as a senior class. Many of us are in difficult classes for our majors and are gearing up for job application deadlines. We run clubs, play sports, and contribute in a pretty significant way to leadership as a whole on campus. On top of all of this, there is a general expectation that we need to “give back” to the underclassmen, as the seniors did for us when we came onto the Colorado College campus in 2016.
Many of us experienced CC’s unique culture at open parties where students dressed in neon flair and greeted us without hazing or belittling. Each year, seniors strive to make the First Block full of fun opportunities to blow off the steam that often accompanies the stress of the Block Plan. As our time at CC has gone on, however, it seems that campus safety, CSPD, and the administration have chosen to make school camaraderie through parties much more difficult.
In the last few years, the number of off-campus parties has decreased dramatically. This has created a void that has been filled primarily by the three fraternities on campus. Although many strides have been made over the years in CC Greek Life’s safety standards at parties, they remain an inherently unsafe and unwelcoming place for various students. Greek Life is rooted in the systemic oppression of women, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ minorities. We appreciate the fraternities taking charge of the social scene, but it has also caused frustration among many students who wish there were alternatives to those three houses every Friday night.
It is also important to note that fraternity parties on campus are getting shut down at higher rates than in previous years, and a member of the Sigma Chi organization informed me that the administration has encouraged them to only throw closed parties. All of this has resulted in a lack of social opportunities for the student body to bond and celebrate together as a larger community.
When women, queer people, and other marginalized groups are unable to throw off-campus parties, our campus inevitably begins to rely on inherently patriarchal groups, such as the fraternities and sport houses, to provide a safe party environment for all students.
Recent crackdowns have also resulted in the emergence of a “bar culture” at CC. When partying moves further off-campus and is not controlled by students, the risk for unsafe situations dramatically increases. This also further perpetuates an economic divide between students who are able to buy drinks and pay for covers at clubs and those who are not.
An inclusive and quirky party scene is a great thing that CC is known for — why are we letting that die out?
By shutting down parties that have been registered and complying with by the rules in an incredibly strict way, people will inevitably start to ignore the protocol altogether. Students are willing to abide by the rules, but with increased shut downs, it seems that more unregistered parties and an increase in the bar culture will result. When parties are unregistered, they won’t be as easily regulated and will provide a more unsafe environment for all students. Bar culture will eventually replace the inclusive party scene we have now through house parties off-campus. When parties off-campus get shut down, underclassmen also end up partying in the dorms, which has resulted in more high-risk behavior.
When parties are shut down because they are on the senior calendar or registered, people are encouraged to throw more exclusive and underground parties. We want to include all students and not just throw parties for various friend groups, sports teams, or other social clusters on campus. However, that will inevitably happen if the current partying trends continue. We would love the administration and campus safety to help the class of 2020 make CC parties inclusive and safe in order to give back to the community in an informal yet very important way.
Remember, partying is going to happen. whether or not our parties are shut down — we would just rather have it be in senior houses, rather than in dorm rooms and fraternities.