Homecoming dance cut short
After being advertised on campus for over a week, the Sonoma State Homecoming dance finally arrived last Thursday. However, the dance's 500-person capacity was met within 20 minutes, upsetting and excluding hundreds of students from the event.
The Homecoming dance was supposed to be held until 1 a.m., but was shut down early due to security issues.
"Due to these miscalculations and subsequent safety issues, we unfortunately had to shut it down an hour and a half early," said Associated Students President Mac Hart in an email that was sent out to the student body the next day.
The 500-person capacity was negotiated by Police Services and the Associated Students Production programmer prior to the event, Hart said. The number was determined based on a ratio of badged police officers available to students.
Hart said the dance shut down around 11:30 p.m. because students from the unexpectedly large line breached the front gates, which closed after the dance met its capacity.
"The population outside of the event grew to the point of becoming a safety hazard," Hart told the STAR. "Our staff made the call to shut the dance down."
Hart said that there were no arrests, alcohol incidents, assaults or violence at the event.
"It was clean," said Hart.
There were many disappointed remarks from those who attended the dance, and from those who wanted to attend but were not let in.
"People rushed the front gates and were jumping over chain link fences. There were even people who were knocking down barricades. It definitely looked like everyone was having a good time. Event services and the police department looked like they tried everything they could to control the event," said sophomore Madison Bauman.
Sophomore Cristina Scott also noticed that the line became rowdy and that people eventually knocked over the gates.
"I felt bad for the security; but at the same time, I thought there was so much room left for people to come in," said Scott. "I don't think they should have had a capacity."
Scott was not the only student who was upset about the 500-person capacity. Unlike Scott, many students waited for their turn to get in to the dance, but were never let in.
"Well, I tried to go to the dance, but I didn't get in because of the 500-person capacity which was kind of unfortunate," said sophomore Amber Allen.
Hart said that given the past few years' unpopular homecoming dances, the Associated Students truly had no idea how many people would show up to this year's.
But because the event was primarily student-driven, Hart attributes this year's overwhelming success to students' involvement in the entire process, including planning, lighting, event staff and entertainment.
He said that the students in charge of the event were able to plan the dance as something they would actually want to go to.
Many students enjoyed the music that was played. There were DJs from Alpha Psi, Phi Delta Theta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Tau Kappa Epsilon.
"What was unique about this event was that instead of hiring off-campus entertainment, we embraced the talent we had in our student body," said Hart. "We had four student DJs. We've had some of the best performers in the world come to our campus for $5, but they barely ever sell out with students . . . we have the opportunity to cerate a more vibrant community when the people you see perform are the people you interact with the next day.
"We totally have talent here. We're just getting started," said Hart.
While the dance has garnered some negative reactions, not all of the responses were poor. There were many responses that showed the dance to be a success.
"The DJs were really good. They forgot to turn off the sprinklers though, so everyone got really wet," said sophomore Michelle de Dubovay.
"From our perspective, we need to maintain that spirit and network of people that made this event awesome," said Hart. "Next time, we will have all the details figured out. We just missed a couple this time."
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