Keep the Clothes On, Says Dingman

‘Anything But Clothes’ bash on Good Friday gets thumbs down from dean, students

A party sponsored by the First Year Social Committee (FYSC) was postponed this weekend following space concerns and complaints that the original party theme was inappropriate and offensive.

The “Anything Goes But Clothes” party slated for Good Friday was postponed to this past Saturday and renamed a toga party.

While the Freshman Dean’s Office has no oversight over FYSC events, Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman ’67 “voiced his disapproval,” according to FYSC chair Zachary A.Y. Pollinger ’09.

“His primary concern was the use of Straus Common Room, which was inadequate for the turn out FYSC events see,” Pollinger said.

Dingman said that while he admired the work of the FYSC, the committee had not secured permission to use the space.

“To have an event that would be housed in our common room and could use money from the College should be something we thought was appropriate,” Dingman said. “And I thought that this no-clothes event was not in keeping with our normal standards of conduct.”

When asked if the event would have been cancelled had it not been scheduled for Good Friday, Dingman only said that the invite was not suitable.

“I think the way the party advertised itself was inappropriate, period,” Dingman said.

An e-mail sent to freshman open-lists advertising the party read: “Coconut bras, strategically placed fauna, caution tape, tin foil, trashbags...”

“Get creative this Friday night and show us what you’ve got. Join the First Year Social Committee and the Class of 2009 for this weekend’s most risque event,” read the e-mail.

But Pollinger said that, “compared to a lot of other annual events on campus, this event would have been tame.”

After receiving complaints from three freshmen who felt the event was in poor taste, an Undergraduate Council representative from the West Yard, Jeffrey Kwong ’09, said that he relayed the concerns to the FYSC.

“A couple of students misconstrued it as a nude party, and were a little bit offended that it would be happening on Good Friday,” Pollinger said of those complaints.

And after the FYSC sent an e-mail to all freshmen clarifying that the “Anything Goes But Clothes” party was not a nude party and was not intended to be offensive, Pollinger said that he received “an overwhelming amount of e-mails from students who considered themselves religious and who were not offended by the scheduled events.”

But some students said that the timing of the event was insensitive.

The president of the conservative weekly Harvard Salient, Travis R. Kavulla ’06-’07, said that the party’s timing showed disregard for Good Friday, but he added that the theme of the party would be inappropriate at any time of the year.

Kavulla wrote an e-mail to the freshman deans expressing his disapproval.

“My primary objection is that an event of this nature is always vulgar,” Kavulla, who is also a Crimson editor, said. “While the FYSC may be perfectly representative in appealing to the basest instincts of freshmen, they should aspire to greater things.”