The College Events Board will not fund a campus-wide “Haunted Hall” Halloween party this year, returning the tradition to its status as a freshman-only social gathering.
The CEB and the First-Year Social Committee had collaborated to organize a free Halloween party in Annenberg Hall open to all undergraduates since 2015.
Jackson M. Grigsby ’20, co-president of the College Events Board, wrote in an emailed statement that the student-led programming committee is moving in a “new direction.”
“This year the board has elected to host a ‘Halloweekend’—a weekend of events centered around the holiday,” Grigsby wrote. “We do not believe it would be wise to host a school-wide dance in direct competition with dances hosted by other smaller student organizations.”
The First-Year Social Committee will spend roughly $12,000 on their freshman only Halloween party, according to Marie Keil ’14, fellow for first-year programs. In previous years, the College-wide social gathering cost around three times as much, Keil said.
Gemma Collins ’18, Eliot House Committee co-chair, said that while the CEB’s decision won’t affect Eliot HoCo’s activities too much, the lack of a social event open to all College students strains activities planned by other groups on campus.
“It does put added financial pressure on the House Committees in general, though, to be offering parties or other social options that weekend,” Collins said. “At this current time, when the College is trying to focus more on re-centering social life back in the Houses and in College-recognized social spaces, it is a shame that there is not a Halloween event open to the whole College,” she added.
The Halloween party debuted two years ago as College administrators sought to curb the influence of off-campus social organizations. In 2015, University President Drew G. Faust allocated money to Haunted Hall and another free campus-wide party, dubbed the “[BLANK] Party.”
Though Haunted Hall did not receive the same funding in 2016, Faust and Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana later intensified their efforts to intervene in undergraduate social life. Since that time, Harvard has implemented sanctions penalizing members of unrecognized single-gender social organizations, and a faculty committee has proposed banning the clubs altogether, among other options.
Faust will review the committee’s recommendations and choose a course of action, though the policy could be subject to further Faculty review if it is included in the student handbook.
Meanwhile, attempting to recenter student life to the dorms, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences continues to push ahead with its more than $1 billion project to renovate the upperclassmen Houses.
—Staff writer Junina Furigay can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @junina_furigay.
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Halting Haunted HallThough it is unfortunate to see one fewer Harvard-wide, socially inclusive event, the College Events Board’s decision to defund "Haunted Hall" is a reasonable one.