Section: News

Sendoff changes prompt outcry

Sendoff changes prompt outcry

This year’s Summer Sendoff will be Friday, May 6, the final day of classes this semester, and will include a new wristband system allowing those 21 and older to purchase up to five drinks, the College announced today. No other alcohol will be allowed on the event’s grounds.

Sendoff, an annual concert event to celebrate the end of the spring semester, has traditionally been held during the weekend prior to the last week of classes, which usually falls in late April.

Concerns over the availability of rain locations prompted the administration to reconsider the timing of this year’s event, according to Kim Blank, associate director of student activities.

The new Sendoff date conflicts with several campus events, including the previously scheduled Kokosingers’ spring concert and the Department of Dance, Drama, and Film’s spring dance concert.

“I was stunned,” Donna Maloney, administrative assistant to the music department, said of the announcement, which was disseminated via Student-Info email this morning. Maloney said Sendoff has “always” been the weekend before the final week of classes. Due to Sendoff, she said, “in 15 years, I haven’t scheduled any events on the last Friday and Saturday in April.”

“We booked our concert back in July, at Donna’s urging,” Noah Weinman ’16, music director for the Kokosingers, said. The group is now working on rescheduling the event.

Blank, who is also the faculty advisor to Social Board, said that around winter break, administrators and the board’s student leadership began discussing the possibility of changing the event’s date.

Social Board, according to the current 2015-2016 student handbook, is charged with helping plan the event in conjunction with the Student Activities Office (SAO). The previous year’s handbook provided much more detailed specifications for Sendoff, such as what types of alcohol could be served and how certain areas of campus were to be enclosed, whereas this year’s version only mentions that the SAO is responsible for planning the event.

“Social Board was made aware that there was potentially a conflict in terms of finding a rain location,” Blank said.

Blank said the other date under consideration, April 29, conflicted with the College’s athletic calendar and the timing of the Board of Trustees’ April meeting, scheduled to occur April 28-30. These conflicts meant a lack of options for large-capacity backup locations in case of inclement weather. Blank also said the traditional timing of the event may be inconvenient for those who observe Passover, which ends on April 30 this year.

Those involved in this dialogue included Blank, Social Board co-presidents Katie Goldman ’16 and Molly O’Connor ’16, Director of Student Activities and Greek Life Laura Kane, Director of the Kenyon Athletic Center Justin Newell and Meredith Harper Bonham ’92, vice president for Student Affairs.

Student Council President Phoebe Roe ’16 was quoted in the email announcement, which was prepared by the Office of Communications, giving her opinion on Sendoff in general. Roe was told beforehand her quotes would be used in a news release about Sendoff, but said she did not know the release would be about the date or changes to food-and-drink plans, and did not know about the changes. Roe said if students have questions about the changes, they should contact the administration, because Student Council does not have answers right now.

Roe said she was disappointed that the specifics of her inclusion in the email were not confirmed ahead of time. “I don’t want to say there was malicious intent because I just don’t know,” Roe said.

With the event now set for the first Friday in May, the tentative rain location is the KAC. In the event the KAC is designated as the host site of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tennis championships, which would be announced later in the semester, either Peirce Hall or Gund Commons will serve as the new rain location.

O’Connor said Social Board’s main Sendoff role is to organize and oversee the concert portion, though its members manage related projects like T-shirt sales, food trucks and prize giveaways. Blank also said Social Board was not involved in any changes beyond these areas, and that the group’s leadership was aware before this morning’s press release only of the changes related to the date of the event.

The announcement drew a strong reaction from the student body, with some feeling the timing change would hinder students academically, whether they take part in the event or not. Though Sendoff is scheduled for a Friday, students customarily extend their festivities into Saturday, often referred to as “Extendoff.”

“I will use the whole weekend — Friday to Sunday — to start preparing for my finals,” Lauren Wheeler ’18 said. “Regardless of whether or not I participate, there are going to be drunk people all over campus … which means I’m losing a day to prepare for my finals.”  

Kyla Spencer ’18 agreed that the proximity of the event to finals has the possibility to be detrimental. “By making Sendoff the week before finals, it’s just going to stress a lot of people out,” Spencer said. Like Wheeler, Spencer believes disturbances connected to the event will be inevitable, even if the College chooses to enforce the 24-hour quiet hours that traditionally go into effect the Saturday before finals week.

Emily Birnbaum, Gabe Brison-Trezise and Nathaniel Shahan contributed reporting.

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