According to a statement from Trinity College’s Office of the Dean of Students, the Trinity College Literary Institute’s (TCLI) annual black tie event, Bubbly, is cancelled due to the “number of incidents that occurred at Saints Ball.”
The announcement came on Monday, November 27. Bubbly was set to take place on Friday, December 1.
Kendra Dempsey, the TCLI Opposition Leader, said she has been planning the event since mid-September. According to Dempsey, the six student heads at Trinity College received an email from the Office of the Dean of Students on Monday morning telling them of the decision to cancel Bubbly.
She and Assistant Dean of Students Residence Life Adam Hogan were supposed to meet on Monday afternoon to discuss online sign-ups and wrist-banding for the event.
“The email said that Adam Hogan, assistant dean, would notify me of the cancellation in the afternoon,” Demspey wrote to The Varsity. “I was given no warning from the Dean’s Office that the nature of our meeting had changed – they clearly intended to catch me off guard with this meeting and ultimately, the cancellation.”
On the now-cancelled Facebook event page, the event description says sign-up for the event was to open on Tuesday, November 28. For events like Bubbly, Trinity College has a formal sign-up page moderated by Hogan.
Demspey expressed frustration at the Dean’s office lack of communication with her because they had given her “explicit permission” to go ahead with planning earlier this year, and she had been in “constant contact with the Office of the Dean of Students” regarding Bubbly planning.
“That vote was a result of the Dean’s Office failing to protect students in instances of sexual violence, racism, police brutality, transphobia, homophobia, and more,” wrote Dempsey. “Since the vote, the Dean’s Office has not addressed any of those extremely legitimate and important concerns. Instead, they have turned this into an issue of a supposed toxic alcohol culture.”
The ban was conditionally lifted for the annual charity Saints Ball on November 18. On behalf of Trinity College, Dean of Students Kristen Moore explained in a statement that during Saints Ball, “Toronto Police arrived on site and they raised serious concerns about the event.” She clarified that the police were not called by Trinity staff.
“Unfortunately there were a number of serious issues that occurred the night of the Saints Ball that are very concerning, including numerous security breaches, property damage, and extreme intoxication with resulting student illnesses,” the statement also noted.
Dempsey pointed out that Saints Ball began a strict “no in/out policy” this year, which she called “a poor call by the Dean’s Office.”
“This resulted in students feeling the need to drink to excess prior to arriving at the party,” said Dempsey. “This also meant that if a student felt unwell at any time, they couldn’t even go back to their own room, whether their issue [was] alcohol related or not. Students were also scared to approach administrators or dons if they or their friends required help, as they were worried they would somehow ruin future events.”
Moore said that the Dean’s office is reviewing the reports from Saints Ball. All student-led licensed events will remain on hold until the review is complete.
“Our main priority with this review is to ensure the safety and well-being of all students. We will continue to work together with the Student Heads to gain their perspectives about moving forward, ensuring a positive student experience at Trinity,” Moore’s statement reads.
The Varsity reached out to the Dean’s office and Provost Mayo Moran on Monday and Tuesday evening, respectively. On Wednesday, Moore sent an email update to Trinity students, which was an expanded version of her statement to The Varsity. Trinity’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Young Um, told The Varsity that “it is the College’s response to your requests.”
The Trinity College student Heads Team did not respond to The Varsity‘s request for comment as of press time.