Earlier this week, the College Events Board announced that it would no longer be funding the “Haunted Hall” Halloween party, a campus-wide event the past two years. While the CEB typically partners with the First-Year Social Committee to plan the event, this year, without the collaboration of the CEB, the “Haunted Hall” will be open only to first-year students. Though it is unfortunate to see one fewer Harvard-wide, socially inclusive event, this move is a reasonable one.
For one, opening up the “Haunted Hall” party to upperclassmen is apparently quite expensive—three times more than a first-year-only party, according to an FYSC fellow. Though there are no statistics on attendance, as an alcohol-free party hosted in Annenberg Hall, “Haunted Hall” appears unlikely to compete with upperclassmen parties. Given the party’s low likelihood of attracting upperclassmen, it would be wasteful to spend three times as much money to accommodate them.
Moreover, “Haunted Hall” likely means more to first-year students than upperclassmen as they begin to navigate the college social scene. As one of the first major party weekends in the semester, Hallo-weekend can be a trying time for first-years unadjusted to college parties. “Haunted Hall” can function as a well-funded, well-regulated (non-alcoholic) destination for first-years who might otherwise seek non-Harvard-hosted social events.
On the other hand, upperclassmen are veterans of the Hallo-weekend ruckus, and they have the advantage of their own House Committees. Many HoCos will host their own Hallo-weekend parties for their House residents this year, so the upperclassmen really are not missing much without the usual “Haunted Hall.”
It is important to note, however, that although it seems reasonable for the CEB to forgo responsibility in this instance, this is by no means an excuse for Harvard to abandon its commitment in hosting inclusive Harvard social events. The announcement of this decision comes at an inopportune institutional moment; after the proposed ban on unrecognized single-gender social organizations, Harvard’s dedication to an inclusive social atmosphere is more important now than ever. Giving up funding for “Haunted Hall” does not mean the College should defund other campus-wide parties.
Instead, this decision should motivate the University to consider other events they could host. In fact, now that the CEB is saving $24,000 on “Haunted Hall,” they should have some extra funds for other campus parties. It is also important for Harvard to realize how this decision will affect the HoCos; by shifting financial responsibility to the individual houses, Harvard is effectively reducing the HoCos budget by unexpectedly forcing them to spend extra money. The University must be wary of this unfortunate consequence and should consider granting subsidies.
In the end, we will miss the cheesy decor, questionable costumes, and uniquely Annenberg-ian glamour of the campus-wide “Haunted Hall” tradition. But, hopefully, there will be many more events to fill its place.
This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.
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