CMC Wedding Party Shuts Down

The honeymoon was cut short for the
brides and grooms attending the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College’s (ASCMC) annual
Wedding Party Feb. 21 at
CMC. After Campus
Safety declared that the event had reached
full capacity, students who had paid for tickets were initially denied entry, which resulted in belligerent reactions from a few students waiting in
line. After the
capacity issues were resolved, the event was shut
down early by the Claremont Police Department (CPD) in response to a noise complaint.

“Around 11:30 pm, we
experienced issues with [the] ticket
process and access control that resulted in a group of students pushing past
Campus Safety to enter the event,” Dean of Students Mary Spellman wrote in an email to TSL. “It is our understanding that this
prompted someone, we are not sure who, to report the event to CPD.”

Spellman noted, however, that this issue was
resolved without police intervention. According
to Spellman, Assistant Dean of Students Devon
MacIver was present at the party and “was able to quickly confer with ASCMC
and Campus Safety on a solution to the access issue that enabled ASCMC to
re-start the event quickly and safely.”

ASCMC Social
Activities Chair Jessica Thomas CM ’16 wrote in an email to TSL that she was frustrated with how the
situation was handled by Campus Safety and students.

“Campus security said that we were at
capacity for the event,” she wrote. “However, they failed to tell the event planners this
until 30 minutes after they stopped letting people in. This caused a build up
of angry, belligerent people which only made the situation worse. This is honestly not a surprise and we continually
have problems with both camp sec and private security at our events.”

She described the students’ response as
“violent and angry.”

“In
physically pushing and hitting both camp sec and the event planners, they
caused the wait to be longer while we attempted to calm people down,”
Thomas wrote.

She wrote that after tables were
cleared out of the space, more people were allowed entry. However, only a short
while later CPD arrived on the scene.

According to CPD’s call log, officers arrived at 790 North Mills Avenue at 11:51 p.m. to respond to the first noise complaint. Spellman wrote that
CPD communicated a second noise complaint at 12:45 a.m. and instructed MacIver to shut down the party to
avoid citation or arrest. She wrote that the termination of the event went
smoothly.

ASCMC President Ben Tillotson CM ’15
said that despite these conflicts, he believes the event was a success.

“It ended earlier than
everyone would have liked, but overall it was still a very fun event, and aside
from the early shutdown and the crowd management issues outside the event I
think things went really well,” he said.

Tillotson noted that students who were
unable to gain entry will not receive refunds for the tickets they purchased.
He described this as being “logistically impossible,” but said that he was “sympathetic” with the
students who experienced difficulties.

A proposed Indian theme in November caused a 5C-wide debate on whether an Indian-themed Wedding Party could be both culturally respectful and fun for students. After a period of debate involving Ekta, the 5C South Asian student association, and a group of Scripps College students who sent a petition to ASCMC opposing the proposed theme, ASCMC rejected the theme Dec. 7.

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