Rowdy students at Log lose control, overwhelming security officers and staff

The “Kamon-I-wan-a-leia” beach party at the Log, which featured a wet t-shirt contest, degenerated into chaos on Jan. 12. The College quickly responded to the events by reprimanding students and changing party policies at the Log.

As students clamored to enter the Log, the rowdy crowd broke two fire doors and a window. Students knocked over and spat on the only security officer on duty, William Noyes. Security responded immediately by sending additional officers to help control the party, and the entrance was closed until 50 people left and the crowds became more manageable.

A security officer also witnessed one senior pull down the bathing suit of a female student, who was asked to file a complaint with Security, but declined to do so. Security and the College administration have deemed these actions unacceptable.

“Ultimately, the students will lose unless they act safely and properly,” said David Boyer, associate director of Security.

While part of the problem may have been the shortage of Dining Services employees that night, the administration will not excuse the students’ behavior. “It is not my intention to close the Log. However, if students do not conduct themselves in a more responsible and thoughtful manner, I’ll have to consider it as a viable option,” said Jean Thorndike, director of campus safety, in response to the incident.

Rather than taking such severe actions, the administration believes that it can prevent any future problems with a few small changes in Log policies. The entrance to the Log for events has been moved from the door facing Spring Street to the entry on the south deck, which allows students to queue up without spilling onto the road. Students who are 21 and wish to drink must enter through the original entrance, allowing the staff to examine student IDs more closely without the pressure of a crowded entrance.

Frosh Council sponsored the party, as it did last year, but last year the event attracted only 100 students. Dining Services based the number of staff members provided on last year’s attendance, and believed that they were sufficiently staffed for the night. Helen Aitken, an associate director of Dining Services, believes the increase in popularity of the party was the result of successful advertising that emphasized the wet t-shirt contest.

“The flyers [for the party] unfortunately never made their way to Dining Services. Nor were we told of the events planned for the evening,” Aitken said.

To better prepare for parties in the future, Dining Services plans to require organizations using the Log to meet with their staff and the Log Committee prior to scheduled events. The administration intends to increase the number of staff at the Log and is considering hiring more part-time personnel to make such a move possible.

During the beach party, many underage students brought in their own alcoholic beverages, which the Dining Services staff struggled to regulate. The night’s events prompted the staff to stop serving alcohol early, but the party continued.

While Security can try to curtail the amount of outside beverages brought inside the Log, complete control is not possible in a crowded situation. Security also cannot always monitor who ultimately drinks alcoholic beverages after they are purchased from the bar. In an attempt to control underage drinking at Log parties, students will not be able to bring alcohol on the dance floor, thereby decreasing the area that the staff has to monitor.

Other changes under consideration include the purchase of radios for Log staff. Radios will help staff communicate problem situations quickly and will help them maintain fire capacity, since management at the front door cannot be aware of people leaving the building through other exits.

In addition, the windows in the game room of the Log will be locked to stop students from dodging lines and ID checks, and the administration proposed to further sound proof the building. Boyer requested that students help the administration with behavior at the Log and noise control. “Students are the best regulators of students,” he said.

Nancy Roseman, dean of the College, spoke before College Council (CC) requesting that students clean up their behavior. If students do not rethink their actions, the Log could be restricted to students 21 and older or closed to students altogether.

Sarah Barger ’02, co-president of the CC, warned that since Canterbury’s Pub is currently under inspection the Williamstown Board of Selectmen could move its focus to the events happening at the Log.

The Board has already received many complaints about the noise emanating from the Log during events, and further disturbances may precipitate an action against the operation of the Log, such as one that was taken against Canterbury’s; on Jan. 14, the Selectmen voted to suspend Club Canterbury’s.

When the Snack Bar first began its late night hours, this now-firmly entrenched privilege was almost revoked due to a lack of respect some students were showing for Dining Service employees. At that time, Dean Roseman spoke before College Council and made a similar request for proper student behavior.

Some of the new changes to Security and Dining Services operating codes for the Log were introduced this past Thursday at the regular dance party, and everything ran smoothly.

Security plans to implement the rest of the changes in the near future as the physical improvements are instituted at the Log. Party policies will be adjusted according to the results of the changes observed at future events at the Log.