Trinity Saints Ball held off campus for first time

Recent changes in residence, alcohol policies call for large events to be moved off campus

Trinity Saints Ball held off campus for first time

In accordance to recent changes in Trinity College’s interim residence and alcohol policies, the annual Saints Ball, held on November 16, was moved off campus to the Palais Royale.

As of September, a policy was implemented by the college so that student fees can no longer be used to pay for alcohol. Larger events, including Conversat, will be moved to off-campus venues with proper alcohol licensing.

This is also the first time the charity ball was held outside campus facilities.

The decision to move Saints off campus came after a tumultuous year that included an alleged assault of a student at a Trinity party by a Campus Police officer, a vote of non-confidence in the administration at the Trinity College Meeting, and then a temporary alcohol ban at events.

Based off of a student survey that it conducted earlier this year, Trinity administration decided to institute the changes to the alcohol policy and events. However, the results of the survey were not fully revealed, nor are there plans to publish them.

In an interview with The Varsity, the two Heads of Arts, Heather Nichols and Michael Switzer, talked of the recent changes to the traditional charity ball and the greater role that alcohol has played in student life.

There has been an interim measure in place, which prohibits the spending of student fees on alcohol, so that means that none of the heads can use their budgets to buy alcohol; no club that draws its funds from student fees can purchase alcohol with those funds,” said Nichols.

“I think that we definitely want to work with the students and the administration to promote the safe consumption of alcohol to people who are of age and so we think that this policy is definitely in service to that,” said Switzer.

Isabella Sell and Christine Sutcliffe, the organizers of Saints Ball, spoke to The Varsity on the decision to hold the event at the Palais Royale.

“We wanted everyone who wants to go the event to be able to come, because in the previous years, there’s been a waitlist,” they said.

“I think our focus is really the charity and giving back to the community.”

Trinity students Adam Stasiewicz and Jared Ecker believe that the events of Saints Ball 2017, which was held at the Melinda Seamen Hall in the St. Hilda’s College residence, might have a correlation with the Trinity College administration’s decision to establish the interim residence policy for 2018–2019.

“Saints Ball 2017 included many people vomiting in the bathrooms, students getting excessively intoxicated before the dance due to the no ‘in and out’ policy, and it eventually required one ambulance to be called for a person who was highly intoxicated,” said Stasiewicz.

“I mean I am no expert but I like to look at correlations,” said Ecker. “I see that the first year the new alcohol policy is imposed, I see that ‘coincidentally’ Saints is moved to a ‘better’ location. I think that these two different events definitely have a relation. And as evident by the events that occurred at Saints last year, there is a certain, certain correlation there.”

Trinity uses facilitator for mediation between college heads, Dean’s office

Ban on alcohol-licensed events lifted conditionally

Trinity uses facilitator for mediation between college heads, Dean’s office

According to an email sent out to Trinity College students during reading week, the Heads Team and Dean of Students office are working with an external facilitator to help with the mediation process following the vote of no-confidence in the Dean’s office this September.

They also announced that Saints Ball, Trinity’s annual licensed charity semiformal, would be held as usual, ending Provost Mayo Moran’s ban on alcohol-licensed events, albeit conditionally. The event was held from November 18–19.

“Temporary postponement of licensed events depends on student behaviour during [Saints Ball],” said Co-Head of College Victoria Lin when asked prior to the semiformal.

The email added that the Heads Team and the Office of the Dean of Students are undergoing mediation “to restore trust and our positive working relationship.” The two parties will meet with the facilitator again on November 20 to see “where things stand,” according to Co-Head of Arts Lukas Weese.

The external facilitator, Chris McGrath, was appointed by Moran. He is currently the Associate Vice-President Student Experience and Registrar at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. McGrath has years of experience working with students, including a term as Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at U of T from 2006–2011.

“As our discussions to date have been positive, we were able to proceed with the Saints Ball in a manner that helps to preserve a fun and positive experience, while emphasizing safety for all students. The Heads Team and Dean’s Office are committed to continuing to work together to ensure a positive student experience at Trinity,” said Dean of Students Kristen Moore.

A new rule was introduced at Saints Ball this year, ending in-and-out privileges to the event. People attempting to exit and re-enter risked having their admission wristbands cut off. The purpose, the Facebook event page message said, was to “maintain student safety.”

Saints co-chairs Gabriel Ferland and Viktoriya Mykhaylychenko said in a joint statement, “We are unsure as to how much this had to do with the Heads Team and Dean of Students, as Saints has always been a difficult event to control and the Dean’s Office has always tried to find new ways to maximize security.”

Meanwhile, as the Heads Team and the Dean’s office work together to rebuild trust, Co-Head of Non-Resident Affairs Mitch Nader said, “Things are progressing normally for the rest of the student body.”

“Students can, and have always been able to, go to the dean’s office with their concerns,” confirmed Nader.