Student life revises guest policy for sponsored events

As a result of increased student interest in inviting students from other institutions to campus, the College has decided to modify its current intercollegiate invitation protocol in order to facilitate more students from other campuses’ ability to attend events at the College and vice versa.

To coordinate open-invite events, students must contact Assistant Director for Student Involvement Ben Lamb a week before the event so that student life professionals and advisors are aware of the event. Then, the student must create a guest list at least 48 hours prior to the start of the event. The guest list must include the name of the guest, name of the college he or she attends, phone number and student ID number. If a guest is not on the list, then he or she will not be allowed to enter the event. Wristbands will be distributed to guests at the event so that they may re-enter if they choose to leave. Lamb sent an e-mail to leaders of student organizations on Nov. 27 unveiling the new policy and outlining the steps involved in its use.

Previously, guests were required to be the immediate guest of a student at the College to gain entry to College parties and events. Now, students from other institutions can come as a group and will not need to be individually hosted by students at the College.

“This new protocol now allows Williams [students] to invite [students from] other institutions, most notably Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts [MCLA], to their registered events without each and every person coming in as the individual ‘guest of a Williams student,’” Lamb said.

Lamb said that the policy changed because there were some instances last year when “visiting institutions were on campus for evening activities and attempted to attend registered afterparties for those events. In a couple of these instances, the visiting students had to be turned away because there were no hosts with them, and there was no way to identify them as guests.”

However, this revised policy does not extend to all College events. “Lectures, community dinners and performances are not included because they do not fall under the purview of [the Office of] Student Life,” Lamb said. “In addition, these open invite events must be non-alcoholic and must hold the expected number of College guests and the expected number of College students.”

Many students and Lamb believe that the protocol will foster intercollegiate discussion and deeper connections between the College and the community. Lamb hopes that “this [policy] will promote more cross-campus interactions socially, culturally and intellectually in a responsible way.”

“Ben Lamb has done an excellent job looking out for Williams students,” Celia Norcross, director of student development at MCLA, said. “One of purposes of the creation of a list is to ensure that Williams students are not denied entry to their own events – that the number of MCLA students will never be greater than the number of Williams students.”

Norcross emphasized that students at the College will also be allowed to go to events at MCLA. She said that MCLA will not require a list of students, but MCLA students who invite students from the College will be required to find additional staff to operate the event.

Although this agreement has only been made between MCLA and the College, Lamb said that similar agreements can hopefully made between the College and other neighboring institutions as well going forward.