October 22, 2020

Senate Bill #4: Capital-sponsored party: “The nays have it”

A major part of the “college experience” for many is that of partying with friends. Major holidays such as Halloween are typically filled with bar crawls, costume parties, and all kinds of community gatherings within the Capital University student community.

In 2020, though, things are different. Off campus house parties are mostly nonexistent, the Zig isn’t selling alcohol past 10 p.m., and Sheridan Avenue is oddly quiet on the weekends.

Student Government President Adam Scherman is trying to change that, though.

In an email sent to students on Oct. 14, Scherman said that he is calling an “emergency” meeting of the Student Government to discuss Senate Bill #4 and Senate Resolution #2.

According to the email, Senate Bill #4 “will allocate upwards of $5,000 of our annual budget to hosting a Halloween Event on Campus.” Said event, pending approval from Student Government, will take place at 8:30p.m. on October 31st. The event is set to take place at the fountains and the Yochum/Lohman parking lot.

The expected attendance for this event, according to the event proposal attached to the email, is 300-500 students.

The “Emergency Meeting” took place at 9:00 p.m. on Oct. 14 and attracted a total of 71 attendees from across the Capital community.

35 of these attendees were named some form of “Yes on Student Bill #4”.

At the start of the meeting, such is the case with all Student Government meetings, the virtual room was opened to comments from the public. Comments from the public were all focused on Senate Bill #4, with a mix of support and disapproval from members of the public.

Eventually, comments started coming in. Kelsey Kitchel, President of AMP, assured members that the event will be safe, citing her studies in healthcare as support for her approval of the event.

Joshua Miller, president of the Inter-Fraternity Council, asked for President Adam Scherman or Deanna Wagner’s comment on the protocol for if a student were to contract COVID-19 at the event. “Would all students present be put in quarantine?”

“You will be contacted to do contact tracing,” Wagner said, as is university policy for such matters.

“You take risks like this everyday,” said Scherman. “In MDR, in the grocery store, in the library, this event is no different from those.”

After comments from the public, senators officially started to discuss Senate Bill #4.

“I’ve attended plenty of events with many people,” said Senator J.J. Price (note- J.J. is a political contributor for The Chimes, covering national politics). “I would not have signed this bill without thinking it is safe.”

Vice President Michelle Trudeau asked “will there be special testing available for students after this?”

“There will not be special testing after this event,” said Wagner. “If we needed to have special testing after this, the University would not allow it to happen.”

“If someone were to go to the party, contract COVID-19, and die, how many senators would be willing to accept responsibility?” asked Senator Danielle Thrasher. There was no response from senators.

The final vote for Senate Bill #4: sixteen nays, eight yays, and one abstain. The bill was not passed by Student Government.

  • Zach Ferenchak is a current Senior studying Emerging Media with an emphasis in PR. Along with serving as managing editor for The Chimes, Zach is heavily involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America, where he serves as the organization's incoming National Vice President of Brand Engagement. He is an avid communicator who hopes to one day elevate brands and causes through effective storytelling.

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