BATting the Fun Out of Our Parties

They aren’t the uber-muscular trio of Batman, Robin and Batgirl. They are graduate students, making up the university’s elite BAT teams—“Beverage Authorization Teams,” to be exact. Required by University policy to regulate parties with alcohol, they check IDs, serve alcohol to those of us that are over 21, man the ticket tables, and occasionally mix drinks.

But while Batman’s nifty cape and superhero attitude go with the job, BAT team uniforms and professionalism are currently a touchy subject among HoCos, who are the BAT teams’ most frequent clients. “We’ll be having a formal,” Mark J. Stanisz ’05, former Lowell HoCo Treasurer says, “and they’ll show up completely out of character, wearing jeans and t-shirt.”

According to Jundai Liu, the BAT team coordinator, BAT teams have a strict dress code for each event, and aside from one event last fall, she claims every BAT team member always dons formal dress for fancier events. Stanisz insists that BAT teams’ street clothes sightings are not as isolated as Liu believes.

The jeans and t-shirt complaint, however, is unfamiliar to Assistant Dean Paul J. McLoughlin II, who oversees the BAT team process. “I am concerned about the appearance complaint,” he writes in an e-mail. “This is the first time I have heard of this complaint and will certainly look into [it].” Apparently, there are other complaints Dean McLoughlin has not heard of.

“BAT teams are generally very good at verifying ID and the nitpicky details, but we’ve had some trouble with them,” says Todd van Stolk-Riley ’06, Lowell HoCo Treasurer, explaining that during the first Lowell Bacchanalia, BAT team members initially refused to open up four bars for alcohol. Several HoCo leaders also claim that BAT team members have trouble dealing with logistical aspects of the party, and do more harm than good.

But Liu claims the students are difficult to work with in the first place, mentioning several incidents where students stole liquor from bars at parties, presented fake IDs, and were generally mischievous. At one event, Liu says, students “tried to grab a keg...so the BAT had to sit on the keg in the end.”

Behind their stone-cold stares, BAT teams have feelings too. “Sometimes BATs, especially if you are little women, you really feel threatened by these guys around you,” Liu says. Little BAT men were not asked to comment.