After last week’s deadly riots following the Boston Red Sox win over the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series, the College has stepped up efforts for student safety during the World Series.
On Friday, Dean of the College Benedict H. Gross ’71 sent an e-mail to the College community asking students to “celebrate safely and responsibly.”
“I am asking the Masters and Resident Deans to work with you to plan viewing parties in our residences where we can all enjoy the games,” Gross wrote in the e-mail.
Victoria Snelgrove, a 21-year-old Emerson College student, was one of approximately 80,000 fans in the Kenmore Square area near Fenway Park reveling in Boston’s historic win early last Thursday when she was shot in the eye by Boston Police with a rubber bullet dispersing pepper spray. She died around 1 p.m. the next day.
“Dean Gross simply does not want Harvard to suffer a similar blow. Anyone who saw the footage of Kenmore Square after the fantastic Game 7 victory can attest that it was quite a violent celebration,” said Currier House Committee (HoCo) Chair Robert M. Koenig ’06.
According to Koenig and Adams HoCo co-Chair Gina M. Bruno ’05, the two Houses hosted viewing parties for nearly all the playoff games, even before Dean Gross’ e-mail. Both Houses—along with many others—plan to hold parties during the World Series as well.
Currier House Senior Tutor Carole Mandryk brought House fans everything from popcorn and peanuts to hot dogs and ice cream during an exciting Game 7. “Besides the fact that they are enjoyable, I feel last week’s game ‘parties’ enhanced the already strong sense of community here in Currier,” she wrote in an e-mail.
Bruno said that the parties “showed folks that they don’t have to spend four hours at a bar to watch a game,” although she added there is no way that they can safeguard against people participating in riots.
But she said she feared Dean Gross’s message may have come off as too sheltering.
“We are adults and we are responsible for our actions, whether we are watching in the house or whether we’re watching elsewhere,” she said.
“We want for students to know we care about them, are concerned about them, but we are not being excessively paternalistic about it,” Mandryk said.
Students agree the viewing parties are good for student safety. Koenig pointed to the fact the gatherings would keep students on campus through the whole game and deter them from trekking to Kenmore Square afterwards.
Zac A. Corker ’04, the College’s special assistant for social programming, said that the Dean’s office and the Committee on Campus Life arranged to project the World Series games on two large screens in Loker Commons.
“It’s the best ballpark atmosphere,” Corker said.
He also said he hopes to have similar viewings in Loker for the presidential election results and the Super Bowl.
“It’s reassuring to know that Dean Gross and University Hall do care about our safety, while wanting us to enjoy ourselves at the same time,” Koenig said.
Bruno agreed. “We’re making history and you can’t deny people the chance to be part of it.”
—Staff writer Bari M. Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.