Pack up your togas. Following the ban of on-campus dances placed late last October, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Life Tamara Himmelstein has confirmed that she is open to allowing dances again this year, but bringing Toga back is off the table.
The ban will continue through the anniversary of last year’s Toga dance, Oct. 26, at which point Himmelstein will open up conversation on whether dances will happen on campus again. However, she said Toga itself is banned permanently.
“I think it’s important that when we consider putting on dances again, we start new and not try to bring back a dance that has had a history of issues,” Himmelstein said.
Although Toga may not be taking place on campus this year, the members of Alpha Lambda Phi Alpha sorority, who put on the event annually, are looking into ways to make sure the event still occurs in some capacity, according to Alpha President Shayna Jackson (senior).
“Now that we have been told we can’t have Toga here on campus, we’ve been looking into the idea of having Toga off campus, and I think that’s what we’re going to end up doing,” Jackson said.
The transition to an off-campus venue will mean a limited number of students will be able to attend the event, but exact parameters have yet to be decided, according to Jackson. As for school-wide dances, Programming Board has expressed interest in putting on a dance in November if the dance ban is removed.
“[Himmelstein] is very open to any ideas that we have. She obviously didn’t want to put a ban on [dances] last year and it was something she was kind of forced to do. She understands that everyone really likes the dances,” Programming Board Manager Joe Kling (senior) said.
If dances do come back to Occidental, they will face tighter restrictions and increased scrutiny than in the past. Himmelstein emphasized the caution the dance organizers would have to take with executing the event, down to the details of choosing an appropriate theme.
“Hopefully the organizers are thinking about what kind of messaging they want to send to the community and what kind of measures can be put in place that allow people to have fun and make good decisions,” Himmelstein said.
Some initial proposed changes to on-campus dances include ending the event earlier and not providing alcohol at the dance site.
The Associated Students of Occidental College (ASOC) are currently in talks to host a general assembly about on-campus dances, which would give students the opportunity to share their opinions on how to improve. Himmelstein also encourages students who want to bring dances back to speak up and share their thoughts with her.
“I’m always open for feedback. I always want to hear what students have to say,” Himmelstein said.