DSG, OSAF launch new event policy

A new set of requirements for registering social events on campus may save students time and paperwork.

The new system, developed by Duke Student Government President Paul Slattery and Chris Roby, director of the Office of Student Activities and Facilities, allows for undergraduates to hold more casual and spontaneous events without first registering them with OSAF.

Under the new policy, students no longer need to register events where alcohol is present unless more than 25 people attend. Additionally, nonalcoholic events do not require registration unless they are outdoors and use sound amplification.

"Our goal was, based off some of the initial reports from the Campus Culture Initiative, to look at the social scene on campus [in order to] figure out ways to help streamline the process for registering events," Roby said.

Other situations no longer requiring registration are advertising; holding events outside a residential space, on the West Campus Quad or on the West Campus Plaza; or using sound amplification indoors.

Furthermore, unless University services are required, there is no longer a registration deadline one week prior to the event.

These changes, established during Winter Break, comprise the most substantial overhaul of OSAF's event registration policy in the last five or six years, said Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs.

Slattery, a senior, said talks surrounding the CCI Steering Committee Report-in particular the recent conversations held by Provost Peter Lange, Dean of Undergraduate Education Steve Nowicki and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs John Simon with students regarding the report--is one reason for the administration's receptiveness to the changes.

Nowicki emphasized DSG's push for the new policy and the organization's collaboration with OSAF.

"The CCI process report and the post-CCI discussions that occurred last spring and fall did help to identify issues such as this one that needed attention," he wrote in an e-mail. "[However,] I think it's important also to note the importance of DSG working with OSAF to make this happen."

A new registration system was first suggested in a September memo-written by Slattery and DSG Executive Chief of Staff Kevin Troy, a junior-entitled "A More Perfect Party Scene."

The memo states that event registration is one of the "barriers to entry" that University policy has created that prevent small groups from holding events and contributing to a more diverse social scene.

"The event registration system robs the campus of the public spontaneity, quality of access and sense of community that should be the hallmarks of any university," the memo reads.

Slattery said the old policy was overly restrictive and "internally inconsistent."

"There's a sense that the degree to which the social scene has been regulated is unnecessary, and in some ways counterproductive to the University's goals," he said.

Moneta said he expects the policy to provide an additional way to stimulate programming on campus.

"Hopefully, [this policy] just becomes another tool, another opportunity for [programming] to happen... I don't think a single policy change in itself will change the whole character of student programming," Moneta said.

Some students said they were unsure of how effective the changes will be in encouraging independents to host events. Sophomore Anant Agarwalla said registering events was never a barrier for independents.

"The issue has rarely been that it's hard to register an event," Agarwalla said. "The big issue for registering events is [that] there really isn't a motivation to do it.... If there isn't a community for which [they're] doing it, I don't see anyone going out and planning events on their own."


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