Despite Controversy, CMC Pirate Party to be 5C Event

Claremont McKenna College (CMC)’s annual Pirate Party, one of the school’s signature traditions, will be held this Saturday, Apr. 30, during Alumni Weekend. Amidst the festivities' planning and anticipation, debate over this year’s attendance and policies have stirred controversy between the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC) and the administration.

Pirate Party has historically been a widely-attended event, and one of its primary draws has been the variety of its partygoers.

“Pirate Party is known to be one of the most popular events at CMC,” Ajlina Basic CM ’19 said. “It’s great because not only do they have the 5Cs involved, but students can bring other guests from [other schools].”

As the party is held during alumni weekend, alumni are also invited to participate. However, controversies in recent years regarding the “rambunctiousness of students” and the “overcrowding in North Quad” have brought attention to some of the negative responses to the tradition, according to The Forum

“When I came into my term for Vice President of Student Activities, the [Dean of Students Office] told me that Pirate Party had been shifted to a 1C event,” said Cristina Lee CM ’18, ASCMC events manager and vice president elect of student activities. “This was because it is a huge social and financial burden for the CMC’s campus.”

Citing previous controversies regarding alumni dissatisfaction with student behavior during Pirate Party, Lee wrote in an email to TSL that the Pirate Party was “nearly cancelled” in 2015, before ASCMC persuaded the Dean of Students Office to bring the event back.

However, due to “disrespectful” and “belligerent” behavior from students on the other 4C campuses last year, the Dean of Students office wanted to restrict the event, for the first time in its history, to CMC and guests only.

While CMC students could be held accountable for the actions of the guests that they bring, Lee wrote that the decision was made to keep 4C students from being automatically invited because “there is no way to keep other 4C students accountable for their actions on [CMC’s] campus.”

But due to popular demand, the ASCMC board worked to resolve the issue and return to a more inclusive guest list.

“Our class officers have been working really closely with Dean of Students to create the event and collaborate with other 5Cs on the event,” Basic said.

“Once we found out that Pirate Party was shifted to 1C, Nicky Blumm (ASCMC President) and I started conversations with administrators,” Lee wrote. “We were successfully able to bring the event back to 5C together.”

The event is currently open to students from all the Claremont Colleges. CMC students may bring additional guests from outside the consortium.  

Depending on the results of this year’s Pirate Party, the future of CMC’s tradition may be at stake. “[The Dean of Students Office and ASCMC] decided that Pirate Party this year would decide the future of Pirate Party,” Lee wrote.

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