Statement: Senior Cocktails are Cancelled Forever, and No One’s Getting a Refund

“The administration has decided that ‘senior cocktails’ will no longer occur in the way they have existed.”

The national media frenzy has come and gone, but the lasting aftermath of last week’s Senior Cocks debacle isn’t going to fade quite so quickly. After a week of tense silence, you knew a statement from the Senior Class Officers was coming. You also knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. Today, it arrived.

The five-paragraph, 600-word email makes clear that last week’s events have put an end to Senior Cocks not only for the Class of 2013, but for all future classes. “Beyond the cancellation of all senior cocktails for future classes, the damage and destruction caused by our senior class last Friday has put our own Senior Week in jeopardy,” the officers write. “There was damage to some exhibits and extensive cleaning necessary at the museum, potential damage to the buses, and possibly damage to the DJ’s equipment as well.” Then there is the damage done to Wesleyan’s reputation among Connecticut venues and services: “The transportation company we have used for our senior events has refused to work with us, and some of our planned Senior Week venues are reevaluating whether they will still host us.” What goes unmentioned in the email is the damage done by viciously mocking media coverage in the week following the event, but that speaks for itself.

In light of this statement, last Friday’s buffoonery went well beyond dinosaur joyrides and escalator injuries. And it was more egregious than vomit on the stairs or gratuitous sex in the bathroom. According to the report, students were responsible for “the harassment of bartenders, which included extreme verbal harassment as well as persistent attempts to steal extra alcohol”; “[a] complete disregard for the venue and buses that resulted in damage to the exhibits and the vehicles”; and, most disturbingly, “aggressive and harassing behavior toward museum employees, bus company personnel and our own Wesleyan staff members who had volunteered to chaperone the event.”

So much for the argument in the comments that the behavior on Friday was no different than at previous venues, where it was largely acceptable. This degree of idiocy is uncomfortably reminiscent of the 2007 bus driver debacle. And it’s no more excusable.

In other news, if you bought a Senior Pass at the beginning of the year, you will not be refunded. I expect this will be the most unpopular revelation (it has already provoked grumblings on my Twitter and Facebook feeds), but I find it hard to argue with the reasoning behind it:

While we continue to compile our expenses, we would like to make it clear that funds from senior pass sales must be used to pay for things we damaged. As a reminder, seniors sign a contract when they purchase their pass, and we will not be considering refunds at this time until all expenses have been compiled.

There’s no mention of any disciplinary follow-up, but according to a brief statement from the administration last week, the University will “discipline students identified as having been engaged in inappropriate behavior” (though it’s unclear how many students are being punished and how they will be identified). Additionally, President Roth voiced his own opinion in a statement to The Argus, and it’s not flattering:

“I would add [to the University’s statement that] it’s embarrassing,” [President Roth] said. “You think things are going well, and students are learning, engaging, and participating in society, and then some people act like tiny children who have been injected with strange substances.”

[ . . . ]

“I find the discourse around blaming the University or the Senior Class Officers who are taking students to a nice place… degrading to the students themselves and to the entire institution,” he said. “The irresponsible behavior of people who are of age who can’t hold their liquor or think it’s really funny at that age to act like high school or middle school students is pathetic, and I do hope we find out who some of them were, so we can suspend them or take other actions that would be appropriate.”

Welp. There it is. RIP, Senior Cocks. You had a good run, and now you’ll live forever in infamy.

* * *

Here’s the statement from Senior Class Officers in its entirety:

Subject: Senior Event Follow-up

To the class of 2013,

As many of you know, February 15th Senior Event at the Connecticut Science Center ended early because of incidents stemming from the behavior of many of us in attendance. It is with the utmost disappointment that we, your senior officers, peers and friends, write to share this information with all of you.

Many people in attendance were far beyond a reasonable state of drunkenness, partially because of extreme pre-gaming, but also in large part because of a large number of people sneaking alcohol onto the buses, sidestepping one of the event’s main safeguards.  There was also the harassment of bartenders, which included extreme verbal harassment as well as persistent attempts to steal extra alcohol. In addition, there was complete disregard for the venue and buses that resulted in damage to the exhibits and the vehicles. Finally, and most disappointingly there was aggressive and harassing behavior toward museum employees, bus company personnel and our own Wesleyan staff members who had volunteered to chaperone the event.

It is true that in choosing this museum as our venue, we made the decision to break slightly from the conventional mode of where senior events have been in the past.  We did this because of our excitement at the prospect of having our class enjoy an event at a new, stimulating, enjoyable location, where people could interact with each other but also engage in the activities and exhibits of the museum.  We genuinely feel this decision was not the result of complete naiveté on our part, but rather a legitimate act of trust in our class to act responsibly and respectfully.  As a class we were unable to do this.  That is why we are extremely saddened and disappointed by Friday’s event.

The incidents that occurred at this event also highlighted a greater problem to the administration, and that is regarding the safety of Wesleyan students. Even with safeguards and limits on drinks, many students approach these events with the mindset of being heavily intoxicated. Despite all the care and effort in planning safe events for the senior class, some seniors choose to put themselves, classmates, and others at risk.  In light of these issues, we must make the sad announcement that the administration has decided that “senior cocktails” will no longer occur in the way they have existed, neither this year nor in future years.    Student Activities will work with next year’s class officers to develop activities that bring seniors together.

Beyond the cancellation of all senior cocktails for future classes, the damage and destruction caused by our senior class last Friday has put our own Senior Week in jeopardy. There was damage to some exhibits and extensive cleaning necessary at the museum, potential damage to the buses, and possibly damage to the DJ’s equipment as well.  While we continue to compile our expenses, we would like to make it clear that funds from senior pass sales must be used to pay for things we damaged. As a reminder, seniors sign a contract when they purchase their pass, and we will not be considering refunds at this time until all expenses have been compiled. The transportation company we have used for our senior events has refused to work with us, and some of our planned Senior Week venues are reevaluating whether they will still host us.  We will be in touch with you again when we have a better sense of what, if anything, is possible in terms of Senior Week events.

Sincerely,

SCO

Here’s a glimpse at how the student and alumni body is reacting on social media:

For more on Senior Cocks, click here.

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  • and serpent

    !!!!!!!!

  • anon

    Just a question: how much do you think the publicity surrounding this event caused its demise? Had Wesleying decided to not post about this, it would have significantly decreased the fun gossip potential but also prevented outside media from learning about this event. Not all PR is good PR. Perhaps there should have been a media blackout.

    • Knows these things

      Not at all.

    • Jared Keller

      That’s an idiotic statement. Wesleying is not a launchpad for national news, and every colleague I’ve asked head about it from WTNH.

      • ick

        They heard about it from Wesleying. Use your brain before you speak please. Wesleying is often a “launchpad for national news” when the posts aren’t the same trite stories of the college experience (see Johanna Justin-Jinich’s murder and subsequent coverage, Beta rape, Betagate, need blind, the list continues). Wesleying definitely shares some of the blame in the cancellation of senior cocks.

        • Jared Keller

          Nobody heard about it from Wesleying. The only people who read Wesleying are Wesleyan grads like myself OR assignment editors looking for on-campus flavor, but they only do that AFTER they already know something’s a story.

          I was a student when Johanna was murdered. You know where the local papers heard about it? From a police scanner, like every other regional or local paper hears most of their crime news. Sourcing Wesleying for commentary and insight into the student body is one thing, but you have no understanding of how the newgathering and assignment process works if you blame this blog, of all places, for elevating this into a national story.

          You know what made this an actual story? Elite Students At Elite University Get Drunk and Do Outlandish Things. Wesleying is the least of your worries.

          Signed,

          An Actual Journalist

          • wondering

            I’m not accusing Wesleying of anything — I’m actually curious. Mostly because the incident report about the dinosaur appeared first on Wesleying before appearing on other new sites. It seemed that a lot of the facts appeared here first before elsewhere.

          • Jared Keller

            So I can’t speak for how other news orgs do it, but most news sites like will ignore a college-kids-boozing story until there’s something that sets it apart from the thousands of other incident reports we see cross the AP or Reuters newswires. Most of the time it’s a) death b) rape or c) something incredibly outlandish. In this case, it was the ABC affiliate WTNH with this hed: “Wesleyan students kicked out of museum for sex and drugs.”

            Now keep in mind that headlines are designed NOT to give you the full story: they’re like the cover of a book, constructed to get you to open and read more. Naturally, there’s no context up there: that the incident was in the evening, that this was a college-sanctioned event, or that senior cocktails are traditionally booze-fests (as they were when I was at school). However, as an assignment editor, your inclination is to click through because of the venue (a museum) and see if it’s worth reporting. That’s why this became a national story: it’s an elite student body getting crazy in a science museum of all places. Do you think anyone would’ve given a shit if this was just some convention hall? The adage ‘if it bleeds, it leads” hasn’t changed, and won’t: the more lurid, the more likely you are to succeed in an attention economy.

            As for the dinosaur details: the whole reason aggregators like The Huffington Post and Business Insider are as popular as they are isn’t necessarily because of search engine gaming or a massive Twitter feed but because they can synthesize and contextualize disparate news reports (say, three reports from three local affiliates) into one coherent story. It sounds like garbage, I know, but this is how the economics of Web journalism works: you can’t just rip from the AP, you have to add *some* value. Naturally, they’ll look for an on-campus resource for some sassy detail, and that resources will either be a) social media, which any assignment editor worth their salt can scrape, or b) an on-campus blog, like Wesleying. In this case those two resources were grouped together.

            Anyway, that’s how it works. This story would’ve been a national item regardless; the dinosaur anecdote just gives blogs something to put in their headline or tweet to get your attention.

        • “Ick?” Seriously?

          Students at the event wrote about it on Facebook and Twitter before Wesleying reported on it. And as @TheOnion and Alexandra Wallace can attest, what gets posted on ANY social media can blow up in your face.

      • ekafout

        You can sit and point the blame at anybody. You can blame the officers for poor planning or the few students who misbehaved. You can also blame the poor Wesleying leaders for poor foresight and not knowing that their publication would cause a buzz in the CT media. Perhaps the fact that this event got so much media attention exacerbated things. The Science museum, Michael Roth and the bus drivers were definitely annoyed by the events that transpired. The media coverage, constant news reporters asking for statements definitely did not help their decisions to cancel cocktail events, or cancel their affiliation with Wesleyan University events.

        Wesleying is all about telling On campus stories and so you can’t really blame them. Honestly, I don’t think many of us (especially the morning after) realized the extent of the damage and therefore it was never in the back of our minds that reporting on some stupid campus blog would prove detrimental. If you say you would have kept your mouth shut if you were a Wesleying poster because of amazing foresight then you are full of it.

        But I do think they are a small contributor for these facts, which seem too correlated to be a coincidence:

        Barstool covered the story.

        The Business Insider piece about Senior Cocktails posts a screenshot of “The Dogtooth’s” Twitter comments. Business Insider is not following Bitchtooth, they got it directly from Wesleying.

        Almost all of the other accounts of the story include:
        -The words “Sex, Drugs, Dinosaurs” in the same sentence
        -Report of the “best of the incident report”… You guessed it, no news source has the exact incident report. Can you guess which two reports they have? (Hint: One is about dinosaurs, the other is about escalators)
        -All blame “poor planning”

    • odd future wolf blitzer

      it’s not wesleying’s job to conceal information that may be damaging to the university or limit the ability of its students to engage in entitled debauchery.

      • 2011

        It’s also not Zach’s job to pounce on it to his own personal advantage. I’m sick of every single major contributor on Wesleying. They seem so self-righteous and just downright uninteresting. They also continuously harp on the same issues and feature the same people. Stop the circle jerk, ladies and gents.

        • Staff

          I bet you were one of those people who said “now is not the time to have a national conversation on gun control” after Aurora. If you don’t like Wesleying, stop reading. We cover issues that are important to the campus, and they don’t typically go away very fast. If you think those issues are “downright uninteresting,” chances are that you are part of the problem.

          And if you really think that Zach made his posts for “his own personal advantage,” then you clearly need to spend five minutes talking to him. That’s one of the goofiest accusations I’ve ever heard.

        • Exit is that way

          Yes, shame on Wesleying for reporting on a major Wesleyan event. Who the hell does this Zach person think he is? Doesn’t he and the rest of those Wesleying bores know that this blog is no place to hone your reporting skills and experiment with writing styles. In fact, let’s not just abolish Wesleying; let’s get rid of poetry slams, 24 hour plays, movie/music making, and anything remotely creative or experimental! Let’s never risk anything by putting ourselves out there because someone might find it offensive, self-righteous, unfunny, and downright uninteresting. Let’s learn the fine art of crapping on other people taking journalistic and creative risks from behind the anonymity of a keyboard.

          And yes, you MUST leave this blog immediately and get your virtuous and sanitized Wesleyan news elsewhere! I insist! Allons-y!

          (Gawd, are you STILL here?)

        • Batte_A

          Point (personally) well-taken on frequently featuring a small group of people who don’t necessarily “deserve” to be featured more than anyone else; I’ll strive to cast a wider net on that in the future.

          • Staff

            I agree. That was your (2011’s) only worthwhile point.

          • We’ve been making an active effort to bring in new contributors for two years now. We’ve been moderately successful, too; if you look at recent featured posts, about half of them are by bloggers who joined in the last few months: http://is.gd/NSgB2K

            But there are only so many people willing to put hours of work into the blog seven days a week, and undeclassmen are (understandably) rarely willing to cover big, controversial topics like this one.

            If you want new voices, it’s only a few months until A-Batte, Syed, Melodious, Goatmilk, Lesanjuan, and I graduate.

    • veni

      Alright, this post made me lol. Blame everyone and everything except themselves. Future of America ladies and gents.

      And hey “2011” if you were so sick of self-righteous, uninteresting circle jerk of wesleying writers, you could’ve always graced us with your enlightening contributions.

  • Student 13

    I love how everything this administration does is clearly anti-student and illustrates little trust. The vast majority of students were just fine. That is almost never mentioned. Everything North College does to cut down on binge drinking just makes people pregame even harder and more in private so students aren’t able to realize their full levels of drunkenness before going out.

    About this specifically- I TOTALLY understand that we need to use money already collected to pay for damages. That being said, this creates so many issues with respect to people who bought half passes vs full passes, people who bought full passes but had to miss this one for sports or something, and the fact that not all of us have parents who are happy to fork over $150.

    I also agree that the few students who fucked up should have acted better. That being said, it is the very sad truth that every single senior cocks has this. I remember hearing about cocaine and sex in the bathroom (and dancefloor) for the last two senior cocktails. It’s a shame, but maybe it should have been a tip that 2013 as a single drunken unit was not about to act super upstanding.

    TL;DR- I generally agree with what they had to do but I don’t think the condescending-prick attitude is helping relations between students and administrators.

    2013 goes out partying our way into the national news.

    • Preach

      Roth has been waiting to shut down Senior Cocktails since he arrived on campus. Anyone who’s encountered him knows that he wants Wesleyan to have nothing to do with events like Senior Cocktails, and that he will personally belittle and marginalize any student who challenges that mentality. He wants students to suffer the burdens of Tour de Franzia damages through punitive, excessive, and unfair fees assessed to six students for the actions of nearly the entire student body. He wants naked parties done away with permanently. He wants P-Safe and the SJB to crack down on students in greater degree. Sometimes I can’t even believe he once went to Wesleyan.

      • ’12

        Assigning blame like this makes you and your class seem immature and entitled. Franz and cocks are not your god-given rights to enjoy on a sliver platter. And the level of danger and destruction that these events cause would make any administrator worry. Of course the President of a University doesn’t want events where 600 students are running around, throwing up, breaking things, and resembling in no aspect the students they are on campus. Stop thinking like you can do whatever to have fun without having others concerned.

      • Calm down

        Those six students you mention were warned well in advance that they could be held responsible if they continued planning the event. They ignored the warning anyway. Senior Cocks and things like the Sex Party were a problem (for similar reasons) long, long before Roth arrived here in 2007. He has not been “waiting,” because as we should all have noticed by now Roth acts on his decisions fairly quickly after making them, sometimes to the neglect of proper consultation (need blind, art library, visitor teaching loads, etc.).

  • Anon2014

    Shame on those who ruined what should have been a nice event. Yes, it’s nice to have fun with peers but there definitely is a fine line between fun and inappropriate. The point of senior events is to have fun with your classmates but that does not mean being trashed so that you can’t act like a semi-adult. If a facility is nice enough to let Wes hold an event there, people should at least have the decency to respect the place. Wesleyan now has a tarnished name and I hope, with time, this disaster can be forgiven.
    I also feel it is unfair to punish the younger classes. There was nothing we possibly could have done. We are in no way connected to this event. The university should recognize that.

    • anon

      But they recognize that this kind of stuff happens every year and expect your class to have acted just the same.

      • Guest

        you miss the point

    • civilization

      There is not a fine line between fun and inappropriate. There is very clear line between fun and inappropriate, just as there is a very clear line between acting like a responsible adult and acting like a drunken asshole.

      • djsksi

        Same point: There is a line. Said line should not be crossed.

  • The Facts

    I think a lot of people are misreading the message of this email, most specifically the line, “Beyond the cancellation of all senior cocktails for future classes. ” The headline for this posting certainly doesn’t help with the widespread misinterpretation.
    Before people go overreacting, here are some important facts to note.

    This year’s class did not single handedly end senior events for all future classes. This past event was simply a major addition to the many previous signs to the administration that senior events are no longer sustainable in their current form.

    What this means is there will likely no longer be events that are simply bussing the entire senior class to a location like a bar with the sole purpose of being/getting drunk. The level of pregaming and destruction has made events like this too dangerous and expensive. To be honest, past a certain point such a model of event isn’t even all that fun.

    While this type of event may be the sort of thing, most of the junior class was picturing for their senior experience next year, the alternatives that SALD ultimately comes up with might be even better than what the past has been. Some of the suggestions that I have heard thrown around is allowing seniors to sign up for specific class outings such as going to a Yankees game or a Broadway show, or a water park. While the sacrifice of such events is that they wouldn’t include the entire class in one location, they still would encourage class bonding, and also sound like they could be really really fun. Such events could even include some “free” alcohol, just not to the same destructive levels of the past.

    Furthermore, its worth pointing out that “senior cocks” technically ended a few years ago. Today’s email was the first time a senior officers’ email referred to the event as anything other than a “senior event.” The administration mandated the end of the name “Senior Cocktails” in hopes that a name change would somehow alter the nature of the event. Clearly that was not the case, so now the event will be altered in a more significant and hopefully positive way.

    So yes members of the senior class acted stupidly. But in many ways this has only brought about a change that was going to have to happen eventually. From my perspective, the new model of senior events sounds like its going to be really cool. Rather than playing a blame game, lets collectively learn from our mistakes, and hope to improve towards the future.

    • More Facts

      Also for the record, please do not think I am somehow associated with the senior class officers because of the positive outlook of my posting. I think their email was absolutely condescending and also misleading in terms of information provided. So many problems at the last event could have been avoided if they had shown some foresight, and the fact that they outright dismiss this fact is greatly disappointing.
      My message is only so that people have the facts and that hopefully the senior class can move forward and have a great rest of their year.

    • A

      Even though there may be other “senior events” for future classes, there was an appeal of “senior cocks”. It’s been a Wes tradition that each year would like to take part in but obviously not in this way.
      But cheers to “learn from our mistakes, and hope to improve towards the future”

    • Point of Information

      Just wanted to say that a Yankees game is damn near impossible given the timing of when senior passes can be sold and when the baseball season occurs. A Broadway show would be damn near impossible as well, unless you’d significantly increase the cost of the senior pass. They’re $150 for 5 events. Maybe what you’re talking about is possible if you only have 3 events or 2 events.

      That said, I don’t doubt that the non-alcoholic events will be of better quality, and people will still sneak alcohol and pre-game the events. Most of the getting blackout happens in the pre-game anyway.

      • ’14

        The $150 passes only partially cover these events; a large-ish amount is also allocated from the Student Activities Fund of the WSA.

  • Anon ’14

    Thanks for blowing senior cocks, Shivan (dinosaur rider) and other d-bag seniors. You’ve officially fucked over future classes too.

  • Ezra Farber

    I agree with the decision… this kind of thing just can’t be allowed to happen.

  • S

    As an alum following this story who had her fair share of fun at senior cocktails events and had one of the highest attended and drunkest 5 year reunions, I actually think the class of 2013 has crossed the line – even if it was just “a few people”. Senior events for this year should be cancelled. Your class funds SHOULD definitely be used to repair the damage…yet you should be allowed to celebrate with the little you have left, if any.

    I however do not believe that senior cocks should be cancelled for future years of students who have not even the remotest connection to this event. I don’t think punishing the entire University is the right move. This event should make it more clear to future students that it’s up to each class member to help build a class you are proud to be a part of – and a University you are proud to graduate from. Unfortunately for those who behaved appropriately last Friday, the actions of a few far outweighed the non-action of the masses. Now your class is being judged — along with the University — nationwide.

    I applaud the people who are working with the museum to help restore peace and find other ways to help. That’s a lesson in taking responsibility that you might not have otherwise learned in college. And by the way, it’s not the last time in your life that you’ll have to take responsibility for something you didn’t yourself do.

    I have a few friends in the class of ’13 and happen to be attending Commencement Weekend this year. While I normally snooze through graduation on the hill, I think I will pay a bit more attention this year. So show me/your classmates/future classes/your parents/your future employers what the class of ’13 is really all about. Spend the next few months working toward something you want to be remembered by. Shouldn’t be that hard… it only takes “a few people” right?

    • Seriously??

      You have friends in the class of 2013, and you already had your 5 year reunion? I’m confused by that in the first place. How did you meet these people? How did you maintain a relationship with them? Besides the point…

      I’m glad you’re able to feel so self-righteous about your class’s participation in senior cocktails and about your ability to get plastered at your 5 year reunion. That’s so honorable. It’s not on our class to prove ourselves to you. Who are you that deserves such a presentation of our character and transcript of our accolades?

      Commencement won’t be the time that we prove ourselves to you. Commencement will be the time that we as a community, without you or your high horse, celebrate the achievements of our classmates with family and actual friends, and the time that we celebrate the culmination of an amazing four year experience here that is so much more than a few individuals’ inappropriate, drunken actions at Senior Cocktails.

      Spend the next few months working towards something we want to be remembered by? We’ve spent the last three and a half years doing that, in the classroom, in athletics, in the arts, in extracurricular engagements. How dare you reduce us to this event, which went awry due to the crass actions of fewer than a dozen people. You clearly know nothing about our class and know nothing about this event in the first place. It sickens me to think that I will join an alumni community with someone like you in just a few short months.

  • Anonymous ’13

    I get why they cancelled it for this year. I get why students are not being refunded. However, there are still problems– permanently canceling cocks is unfair to the classes below us. In addition, there are several students at this school who don’t have a shit ton of money who bought a half pass for cocks and haven’t attended a single event– or those who bought a full pass because its a pretty seminal thing in our senior year. It breaks my heart that friends of mine are pretty torn up about the fact that they tentatively forked over the cash only to get nothing out of it. Finally, it really sucks that the entire class of 2013 is paying for the mistakes of a few morons. The University is going to be pissing off 700 students for the mistakes of a few, and I don’t know if that is the smartest decision overall. Shame on the people who ruined this for us, and shame on everyone who is blaming all the seniors for a few idiots. To completely cancel all senior events I think is just alienating the senior class, and could make things worse. I know this is our responsibility, but I’m still mad that a bunch of us didn’t do anything wrong.

    • anon

      I bought a full pass but was unable to attend the Feb 15th event. When I first heard the news, I considered asking for a refund for that particular event because I was uncomfortable with my money going to fund this type of shenanegins. Now there’s no hope. Shouldn’t the people getting sanctioned with disciplinary action pay more for repairs than people who weren’t even there?

      • I was there ’13

        I agree! If everyone had paid the same that it might make more sense to not give any refunds. But since some of the drunk assholes destroying stuff probably only paid for a half pass or a single pass, those who paid for the full pass are covering for them. I think the people getting SJB’d should also be forced to pay for their damage, and the rest of those there should be given a partial refund. Not that this will happen…

  • Angel Armstead

    We fucked up. I fucked up.

    I was there. I was tipsy at worst. I laughed when I started to hear what was going down. I used my three drink tickets. I enjoyed that. I was, we were, pretty loud on the bus ride there. I thanked the driver when we got there. She said she wished she could have sung along with us. I thanked the staff and the servers. I heard about the Harlem Shake plan. I saw vomit on the stairs.

    Why am I so pissed? At Roth, at the class, at the email we just got? Why not more at myself? What could I have done then? What can I do now?

    If this is the note that ends our year, if 2013 goes down as “the class that fucked it up,” it will be a nasty, sour ending to a really positive four years.