By now the incident at the Caribbean Students Association mixer on November 2nd is old news. But the possibility of policy change is not.
In review of the incident—an unidentified male guest fired a gun in the Sky 1 parking lot after a fight broke out during the event, ending it prematurely. No one was hurt, but the Mary Baldwin administration is still taking a serious look at the event and how future mixers can be safer.
Firstly, all mixers on campus are suspended through January 31, 2013. This is not intended to discipline the CSA or any other students. The mixer suspension will give the college time to look closer at mixer rules and regulations, reforming them to ensure a safe and fun time for all at these campus events. There was only one mixer on the schedule (also by the CSA) that will be affected by this, and is yet to be decided whether the money allocated can go to something else. A committee, consisting of President Fox, members of the Student Life staff, members of the security staff, and other important figures on the Mary Baldwin campus will be convened in order to carry out this policy reform effectively.
Of course, a question on many students’ minds is whether the rule truly needs to change, along with whether or not the CSA was following the current safety codes. According to President Fox at Tuesday’s Student Senate, the CSA, security, and the Staunton Police (who are required to have a presence at every mixer) were checking all guests’ IDs and using the metal detector wands. However, the CSA was not recording the names of those who came in, something all school organization who hold mixers are required to do, making it difficult to find and arrest the man who shot the gun. In addition, at Senate, a student in the gallery raised the concern the perhaps not every guest who went in was
wanded. Security is looking into this.
Various other policy suggestions were made at the Senate meeting. One of the most well-received suggestions was that of President Fox, who suggested implementing more specific codes about leaving a mixer and coming back, whether that may be re-wanding people, simply not allowing re-entry, etc. Other suggestions made by students in attendance included having the organization in charge hold IDs upon entrance, making sure that mixers are not thrown the same weekend as the RA conference again, closer monitoring of underage drinking, improving light on campus, and giving different color wristbands to MBC students, students from other colleges, and non-students at mixers in order to get a better idea of who attended.
In addition, President Fox, the Judicial Board, Security, and others reviewed certain safety policies on campus as asked by students, including whether or not pepper spray is allowed (it is, but no other weapons are), the unarmed status of Mary Baldwin security (may be under review), and whether or not to immediately contact security in an emergency (security should always be contacted ASAP because they have certain procedures, but not necessarily before someone calls 911). Also, students were assured that, despite having unfortunate timing, the fire alarm that went off in the Spencer dorm during the security advisory was merely a coincidence.
Any information about the incident can be reported to campus security at 540-887-7000 or the Staunton Police Department at 540-332-3980.