Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley has called on a city agency to investigate the shut-down of a party at a Boston nightclub arranged for black alumni and graduate students from Harvard and Yale that ended in allegations of racist conduct on the part of the club’s owner.
Pressley told The Boston Globe that she had received calls from several Harvard students complaining about the club’s past conduct regarding issues with race and that these complaints prompted her to initiate an investigation. The inquiry will be carried out by the city’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing.
The incident, which occurred on Nov. 20 at Cure Lounge, began making headlines last week with the circulation of an e-mail sent by organizer Michael M. Beal ’06 alleging that the party was shut down because “we were perceived as a threat because of our skin color.”
Pressley told The Globe that she is reserving judgment until after the investigation is complete, stating that “an investigation is not an accusation.”
George Regan, a spokesperson for the nightclub, told The Globe that the club had been shut down because there had been individuals in line for the event who were known to police and that some people waiting in line for the event refused to provide identification.
According to Regan, the club’s decision to shut down the club was one with safety, not race, in mind.
The e-mail sent by Beal, a second-year student at Harvard Business School, alleged that bouncers said “local gang-bangers” had joined the crowd of black students. The club attempted to restrict access to students with Harvard and Yale student IDs, but the organizers insisted that since alumni made up a bulk of the attendees, the bouncers should continue using the guest list, according to Beal’s e-mail.
According to The Globe, Pressley said in a letter that she had never heard of any venue in Boston closing because it was afraid of attracting “local gang-bangers.”
Beal did not return requests for comment.
—Caroline M. McKay contributed to the reporting of this article.