At a recent PUB—the weekly party hosted by Pomona College’s Kappa Delta (KD) fraternity—held in Doms Lounge April 10, the hosts had adjusted lighting levels during the dancing hours of the party so it was not as dark as previous weeks, according to KD President Brett Lingle PO ’13. PUB is facing regulation from the college's administration after students interviewed for Pomona's sexual assault policy audit cited the party as an event in which a culture of sexual violence is present, and the dimming of the lights is part of the fraternity's efforts to make the event safer and more comfortable for all students.
“In light of that finding [in the sexual assault policy audit], the administration cancelled PUB. We knew that in order to get PUB back online we needed to make some changes. We were not explicitly told to make any changes,” Lingle wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “However, we very much wanted to make changes if people felt at all unsafe at our party. So, in working with the Advocates [for Survivors of Sexual Assault] and the administration we were able to come up with the adjustments that have been made.”
Other organizations that host regular parties have not changed their lighting procedures. At the Building Leaders on Campus (BLOC) Party held the following evening and the weekly Table Manners party the night before, the dance floor lights in Doms Lounge and the Smith Campus Center (SCC) Social Room, respectively, remained off.
Chris Waugh, Director of the SCC and Student Activities, said that this discrepancy is due to the recent identification of PUB as a place where sexual assault is more widely known to occur.
“Pomona College recently learned of the results of an independent audit of its sexual assault programs and responses,” Waugh wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “In those results, PUB was mentioned by the various groups with whom the auditor met.”
“I reached out to Dean Waugh, and he said that there have been no universal policy changes regarding parties in Doms Lounge, so we have not been asked to change anything,” BLOC President Cuy Sheffield PO '13 said. “We are well aware of what is going on with PUB, and we will continue to do what we can to make BLOC party a safe and fun environment even without pressure from the administration.”
Although KD is currently the only organization that the administration has worked with to actively change the environment of its dance parties, Waugh expressed interest in working with other organizations in order to foster a safer party environment at Pomona.
“I am pleased with what Kappa Delta has developed at this point, in terms of creating a fun and safer environment for student social events, and I will be reaching out this week to other student organizations that host regular social events to share Kappa Delta’s ideas and to encourage them to consider adopting similar safety measures,” Waugh wrote on Sunday.
Waugh said he hopes that the initiatives taken on by KD to reduce sexual assault at PUB will serve as a model for parties hosted by other organizations, though he indicated that such initiatives would be on a voluntary basis on the part of any particular group.
“At this juncture and to the best of my knowledge, Kappa Delta is the only student organization currently reviewing its logistics for weekly (or bi-weekly) social events, although I’m hopeful others will do the same,” Waugh wrote.
PUB was initially cancelled March 27 as a result of an audit conducted by Tiombe Preston SC ’95 last month. The students and organizations contacted in Preston's research, including the Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault, identified PUB as a space at the 5Cs where an environment of sexual assault exists.
Neither PUB nor any other weekly or bi-weekly 5C party, such as BLOC Party or Claremont McKenna College's Thursday Night Club, was mentioned by name in Preston’s report, though Preston pointed to PUB in a slideshow presentation of her recommendations and findings.
Waugh noted that KD is maintaining contact with his office and the Dean of Students office “to assess and adjust the recent additions to PUB.”
“Kappa Delta was surprised and concerned that their event was highlighted in the audit and began working closely with the Dean of Students and my office to examine not only how to improve the safety of their event, but also to discuss the 5C party culture, writ large,” Waugh wrote.
Lingle added that signs posted around Doms Lounge have information about venue rules, including “respect everyone’s right to dance alone and with friends” and “always ask to dance.” Signs also provide contact information and information on resources available through the Advocates. At this week's PUB on April 17 lights remained on for the beginning of the party and were slightly dimmed later in the event.