Afterparty Invitation Causes Stir on Council

The First-Year Social Committee (FYSC) came under scrutiny when an invitation to a private party following the Freshman Formal seemed to imply it was sponsored by the committee, which receives funding from the Undergradauate Council (UC).

FYSC Chair Zachary A.Y. Pollinger ’09, who hosted the after-party, said he planned the event to thank the committee members for their work on the formal. The invitation was posted to Dem Apples, the offical blog of the Harvard College Democrats, by Garrett G.D. Nelson ’09, who criticized the invitation for its wording and representation of the FYSC.

Nelson argued that it was “an invitation to an exclusive party”—an event “which deliberately spits in the face of a large majority of its representatives.”

Nelson said he decided to post the invitation to the blog, because he felt the invitation used the FYSC name in an “inappropriate manner.”

“I certainly don’t see anything wrong with individual people throwing individual parties, but I think it was the decision to use the organizational, structural power of the FYSC to throw the exclusive party that was inappropriate,” Nelson said.

Pollinger said he hosted the afterparty so that the members of the FYSC could enjoy the evening as well.

“We have to work at our own events,” he said.“I only got to dance to three songs during the Formal because I had so much work to do, and that was the case for a lot of members.”

The scanned version of the invitation posted to Dem Apples read, “The Chair and Members of the First Year Social Committee cordially invite you to attend the invitation-only Freshman Formal Afterparty.”

“The intention of the invitation was for the people who put on the Freshman Formal to celebrate their work and invite their friends,” said FYSC Vice-Chair Rachel E. Johnson ’09, who helped design the invitation. “We never meant to misrepresent our committee.”

UC President John S. Haddock ’07 wrote in an e-mail to the UC that while “the members of the FYSC have every right to party with themselves,” he found it “highly inappropriate for [the FYSC] to associate titles within our organization to promote their private event.”

Haddock did, however, “appreciate [Pollinger’s] desire to thank all the people on who worked hard on the freshman formal.”

In response to a request by Council member Matthew R. Greenfield ’08 for an audit of the FYSC’s Freshman Formal expenses, the FYSC participated in a financial review by UC Treasurer Blake M. Kurisu ’07.

Kurisu’s review, presented at yesterday’s UC meeting, found that “all UC funding of the FYSC has gone toward expenses explicitly related to the Freshman Formal and other official FYSC events.”

—Staff writer Brittney L. Moraski can be reached at bmoraski@fas.harvard.edu.