School considers canceling dances

By Jordan Freisleben

Less than two weeks after the Jan. 30 semiformal, some concerned deans and faculty members raised the possibility of canceling the event for future years chaplain Father J. Young said.

“Some believe that the negatives of such an event outweigh the positives and would therefore like to cancel the dance for future years,” Young said in an e-mail to students.

Attached to this e-mail was a link to an online survey that asked students their feelings about the semiformal.

Many critiques of semiformal are not about the event itself, but rather about the activities that go on at the ensuing after-parties.

“[A big problem is] the conspicuous consumption, and semiformal becomes a piece of the puzzle that can lead to heavy substance abuse,” Young said. “Though we know the after-party is not ours, one wonders if after-party would cease if semiformal were canned,” Young said.

“I don’t know how much of an effect [canceling semiformal] would make,” semiformal co-chair and prefect Christine Kanoff ’11 said. “Students would just go to other schools’ after-parties.”

“For the most part, students are safe,” she said. “Semiformal is the only time where the whole high school comes together – it brings the school together.”

Despite the e-mail to the student body, Head Prefect Reid Lidow ’10 believes that the administration members who oppose semiformal are the “loud minority.”

Kanoff suggests discussing the detrimental effects of substance abuse in class meetings as a more beneficial alternative than canceling semiformal.

“There will still be an after-party even if semiformal was taken away,” Lidow said. “If you consider the after-party to be a gunshot wound to the body, canceling the semiformal would be like putting a band aid on that bullet wound.”

This year, the semiformal location was changed to the California Market Center in Downtown’s Fashion District after being held at the Sheraton Universal for the past several years.

Ticket prices were reduced to $40, and a portion was donated to charity.

“It was apparent to us that no one ever ate the dinner provided at the dance, and it seemed more cost effective to the students to simply lower the prices and not provide dinner,” semiformal Co-chair Cate Barsky ’10 said.

“Students can just relax and have fun at semiformal,” said Kanoff.