Unity Week to include first dance since Fall 2013

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Occidental’s Black Student Alliance (BSA) will host the first dance of the year Nov. 1 as part of the college’s first annual Unity Week. The upcoming dance marks the end of a year-long moratorium on dances instituted after six students were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning during last fall’s Toga.

BSA proposed the dance, titled “The Drop,” as a closing event for Unity Week, a series of programs exploring multiculturalism. The series is scheduled for the last week of October and will be co-sponsored by various other cultural clubs and Greek organizations, including Sigma Lambda Gamma, Kappa Alpha Psi, Beauty Beyond Color, African Students Association, Asian Pacific Americans for Liberation, Los Compadres, Las Hermanas Aliadas and La Raza Coalition.

“When we were planning the week we decided we should have a celebration at the end for all the people that came and supported our clubs and for everyone to just come and have a good time,” BSA President Samarah Jackson (senior) said.

BSA originally planned to host the dance in the parking garage but moved the venue to the Academic Quad. Admission is $5 at the door or free for students who attend at least one other Unity Week event, according to Jackson.

Programming Board, which traditionally sponsored the GLOW dance in September, is also brainstorming ideas for a second dance in early November, according to Programming Board manager Joe Kling (senior). However, Kling emphasized that Programming Board’s main priority remains the fall concert featuring Odesza on Halloween.

“We’re definitely working on it and hoping we’ll have a dance before the end of the semester, but we’ll have to wait and see,” Kling said.

Assistant Dean of Students Tamara Himmelstein said that other clubs are welcome to submit proposals for dances, but noted that some clubs are hesitant to do so. Alpha Lambda Phi Alpha sorority (Alpha), which traditionally hosted the now-banned Toga, declined Himmelstein’s offer to host a school-wide dance with a different theme.

“I don’t foresee Alpha hosting any other dances at Oxy for the time being because they cost so much money and they put us in a difficult situations when things like alcohol poisonings happen,” Alpha president Shayna Jackson (senior) said.

According to Himmelstein, the hesitation likely stems from the level of time and effort that goes into hosting campus-wide dances.

“I have a lot of respect for Alpha, for the Programming Board, for any student organization who puts on a large scale event because it is a lot of work,” Himmelstein said.