This year Ladd House will not host its annual Inappropriate Party. Members of the House voted on the issue this past week, following discussions with the Office of Residential Life (ResLife).

After members of the ResLife office repeatedly brought up the potential for offensive attire and cultural appropriation associated with this particular party, the House decided to forgo the party altogether. 

They had planned to host the party next Saturday. Instead the house will be hosting the band SUN CLUB, brought to campus by WBOR. 

Casey Krause ’17, programming director for Ladd, said that Associate Dean of Students Affairs Meadow Davis and Director of the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity Kate Stern—Ladd’s staff advisors—first brought up their concerns about the party when at a lunch with the House officers.

President of Ladd House Ernesto Garcia ’17 said that he met with ResLife and Associate Dean of Multicultural Student Programs Leana Amaez before the decision was made. 

Assistant Director of Residential Life Mariana Centeno ’14 attended a Ladd House meeting two weeks ago to ask the House about its plans for the party.

“ResLife wanted to make sure that the House understood and was able to clarify why they wanted to have the party if they were going to have it,” said Davis.

“We work pretty closely with Houses on any event that feels like it could be unsafe or for some reason could be unwelcoming or uninclusive,” Davis added.

According to Garcia, ResLife did not explicitly prohibit Ladd from throwing the party. 

“There was definitely some advice, some warning from ResLife that it could get bad,” he said.
“ResLife was really clear with the types of things that we were dealing with and the changes in Bowdoin’s social climate, but made sure that it was the House’s decision because at the end of the day it’s not something that they would want to force one way or the other,” said Ladd House proctor Kate Powers ’17. 

“It’s just that they want the House to be thoughtful,” she added.

Davis said that she did not think of ResLife’s concerns about the party were related to Cracksgiving, the annual party hosted by the men’s lacrosse team. At this year’s party, 14 students dressed up as Native Americans and were displined for conduct unbecoming of Bowdoin students

According to Krause, after the initial advisor lunch meeting, the House was still prepared to host the party. After the meeting the House began to brainstorm ways in which it could try to prevent overly offensive costumes, but still host the Inappropriate Party. 

She said that they were considering such measures as conducting programming specifically geared towards educating the campus about cultural appropriation during the week leading up to the party or trying to determine what was too offensive to be worn into the House.

“We didn’t feel very confident with any of the compromises that we had come up with,” said Krause. “We didn’t feel confident that we could actually keep what we wanted to keep out of the Inappropriate Party out, and so we decided not to hold it.”

She pointed out that a large part of what eventually convinced the House to not hold the party was the offer from WBOR to host SUN CLUB that same weekend. WBOR approached Ladd with the offer.

Some members of Ladd have expressed regret at not being able to hold the party.

“A lot of people do enjoy the party and wanted to throw it, but it was going to take more meetings with the administration to go through ways to filter out the bad,” said Krause.
Powers acknowledged that the Inappropriate Party is appealing to many students because it offers people the chance to be politically incorrect and goofy.

“A lot of people were able to reason by the end that that isn’t worth hurting someone,” Powers added.

Jun Choi ’15, who lived in Ladd two years ago, said that when he lived there the House didn’t worry about the potential for the party to be too offensive and that ResLife was not as involved in the issue as they were this year. He added that most Ladd alumni are not upset that the party is not happening this year.

“Most of us didn’t really care that much,” said Choi. 

“I think it is along the lines of Bowdoin being a little too [politically correct] and trying to police what you can and cannot say and can and cannot do on campus, which depending on who you are may be for the better or may be for the worse,” Choi added.

Garcia echoed that sentiment. 

“The Inappropriate Party is just one of the many things that are censored at Bowdoin and I wouldn’t say losing the Inappropriate Party itself is a bad thing for Bowdoin, but it does just kind of show how there are a lot of things on this campus that students cannot do because of political correctness,” he said. 

The permanent future of the Inappropriate Party at Bowdoin is uncertain at this point.

“If the House next year wanted to have the Inappropriate Party again, we would have a similar conversation with them,” said Davis.