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ASPC to Cap Harwood Funding at $20K

Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) senators voted Nov. 12 to cap Pomona Events Committee (PEC) future spending on Harwood
Halloween at $20,000 per year. Cutbacks to the
event, which has exploded in cost over the last few years, are intended to free
up cash for other events throughout the year. 

This year, costs for Harwood reached approximately $37,000, or
31.5 percent of PEC’s annual budget. 

“Going forward, they will only be allowed to use $20,000,”
said Eric Martinez PO ’14, ASPC’s Vice President for Finance. “That gives
them really a couple of options. They can scale down the party, they can start
charging admission for the party, or they can find some sort of creative way to
make some revenue.” 

Senators agreed that a financial cap was a good way for the Senate
to cut back on exorbitant Harwood Halloween spending without encroaching on PEC’s
territory. This is the first time the Senate has added a stipulation to PEC’s
annual budget.

A statement about the cap will be written up during next week’s
Budget Committee meeting and will be included in next year’s budget. While the
$20,000 cap is the only actual stipulation that will be added to the budget,
the statement will include recommendations about how the event could be
conducted in the future. 

“I’m
okay with recommendations, but in my mind I have this line, because in Senate
we do make decisions, we have voting power, and that already is sort of unequal
in a way,” said Giselle Fierro PO ’14, Vice President for Campus Activities. “So I don’t want necessarily for Senate to dictate what PEC does
next year. I think that that’s not Senate’s role.” 

Fierro said she was in support of the $20,000 cap. 

Several of the recommendations will suggest different ways to
host Harwood Halloween, such as making it a carnival or turning it into a
smaller, ticketed event similar to Smiley 80s. Smith Campus Center (SCC) and Student Programs Associate Director Ellie Ash-Balá said during the Senate
meeting that Smiley 80s makes up about $5,000 worth of expenditures by charging
a $5 entrance fee. 

Fierro said she had already discussed alternative ideas for
Harwood Halloween with PEC members. One idea consisted
of playing different genres of music in different rooms in the SCC, so people could drift from room to room as they pleased. Ticketing
the event and decreasing the size was another option. However, the
eventual format of Harwood Halloween 2014 will be a decision for next year’s
PEC members. 

“I’m sure the students are very capable and are very creative in
terms of the events they can make happen next year, and so I have full
confidence that whatever they’re going to decide to do with the $20,000 is
going to work out,” Fierro said. 

Another recommendation will suggest that PEC take serious
initiative in revamping the event’s sexual consent culture. 

“As well as the financial costs of Harwood, it’s also a place
that’s known to have a pervasive culture of sexual violence … and I think
that’s something to keep in mind,” Commissioner of Communications Sarah Devereaux-Hardimon PO ’16 said during Tuesday’s meeting. 

Students have
received two notifications of Harwood-related sexual offenses thus far this
semester, one stemming from last year’s party and one following the event this
year. 

Senior Class President Emma Wolfarth PO ’14 recalled the administration’s decision to cancel Pub earlier in the semester
for ongoing reports of sexual assault and said that it was important to
treat sexual misconduct at a PEC-sponsored event with the same degree of
seriousness as sexual misconduct at a party sponsored by another student
organization. 

“We have to make sure that we’re holding everyone to the same
standard,” Wolfarth said during the meeting.

Helen Lamb PO ’15, a Resident Advisor in the Mudd-Blaisdell
residence hall, said that in theory she liked the idea of a smaller Harwood Halloween. She said that whereas it might be fun to have more events throughout
the year combined with a scaled-down Harwood Halloween, she was unconvinced that such a
change would have positive effects on student safety. 

“I’m concerned that if we don’t facilitate sanctioned,
supervised Halloween events, people will just organize something independently,
and it won’t be as safe, although it will be cheaper,” Lamb said. 

Lamb said that Pomona’s Office of Campus Life and
Residence Halls Staff tried to create alternatives to Harwood Halloween
this year, including a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and small
mixers in most of the South Campus residence halls. While these events
contributed to the night’s costs, she said they yielded almost “zero turnout.”

Lamb said she was not sure “what the administration could
do to get fewer people to go, or to get people to be safer besides feeding
them.”

“I think it has to be a cultural change,” she said.
“You can’t administer cultural attitudes.”

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