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Pomona Discontinues Harwood Halloween Due to Budget, Safety Concerns

Instead of trekking to Pomona College's parking garage for Harwood Halloween this weekend, 5C students will have to attend other events, like HALLOWEEN, a 5C party co-hosted by Scripps College and Claremont McKenna College.

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According to Sam Crawford PO ‘16, Pomona Events Committee (PEC) commissioner, safety concerns were the primary reason for cancelling Harwood Halloween. The party has traditionally been one of Pomona's most popular but also “routinely the most dangerous and most expensive event on campus in the 5Cs.”

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He said that because of the weekend's potential dangers, ranging from alcohol poisoning to sexual assault, Harwood Halloween required “having basically twice as many security guards as we would have for a normal event, having copious amounts of food, having proper fencing, etc.”

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Partially due to the costs of these security measures, the party became too expensive to be sustainable. In 2013, Harwood Halloween cost approximately $37,000, according to a November 2013 TSL article.

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“It was fun, but it's a high cost, so I don't think it's worth it,” Ian Schiffer PO '17 said.

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After Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) voted in November 2013 to cap funding for Harwood Halloween at $20,000 per year, the next year's party was held in Edmund’s Ballroom as a ticketed event. These changes were made to cut costs and ease safety concerns.

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Arun Iyer PO '18 wrote in an email to TSL that the 2014 party was “a bit boring.”

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“ There wasn’t much of a turn out for the event,” he wrote. “Most people seemed to cluster around the food alone while the dance floor was all but empty and the DJ kept on playing music when people weren’t really listening.”

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Jewels Tambone SC '17, the 5C events chair for Scripps Associated Students, wrote in an email to TSL that in 2014, CMC and Scripps “decided to throw a party on [their] own campuses so those excluded for financial reasons from the Pomona event still had a Halloween party to go to.”

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According to Tambone, the party jointly hosted by CMC and Scripps last year was more popular than expected. This year, she expects HALLOWEEN to have an even larger turnout.

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Tambone also wrote that she hopes HALLOWEEN will be a safer and more financially sustainable event, especially since CMC already owns equipment that would “normally be very costly to rent.” 

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Tambone added that  “a lot more time and effort and importance has gone into the planning” of this year's event than last year's event.

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“There will be a spooky walkway into the event, a variety of DJs, etc,” she wrote.

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Although Scripps and CMC will provide most of the funding for HALLOWEEN, other 5C colleges will also help out. According to Crawford, ASPC plans to provide funding for the event unless concerns come up that ASPC doesn’t “feel represents our students or we don’t feel our students would support.”

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Generally, each school in the consortium throws at least one large party or high budget event per semester. Historically for Pomona, this has been Harwood Halloween. This year, Crawford said that ASPC hoped that Daze, a day party on Sept. 26 that was open to students from all 5Cs, would be Pomona's major event of the semester.

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