A new policy this year will charge all guests $30 to attend the Junior-Senior Ball, sparking some complaints among students who take issue with the use of financial obstacles on campus. 

“I don’t like the idea that Bowdoin is using economics to dissuade people,” said Danny Mejia ’17. “If they only wanted it to be a junior-senior event, they could simply have it be a junior-senior event and not have any underclassmen. To restrict it with money just seems contrary to what Bowdoin is about.”

Associate Director of Student Activities Nate Hintze said that over-attendance last year motivated them to charge for non-junior and non-senior guests this year.

“It was busy. We had almost 1,000 people attend that ball,” said Hintze. “Realistically there were 600 to 700 juniors and seniors on campus. And we probably had over 300 other students—either first-years, sophomores or guests attend.”  

Hintze explained that last year members of the Classes of 2014 and 2015 were registering first years and sophomores as their guests, but not actually attending together. 

“If you’re a sophomore or freshman, you have to be with the person who registered you,” said Senior Class President Josh Friedman. “There were some problems with some people just trying to come in last year. They had a bracelet, but they weren’t with the person who registered them. The people who were working the door were having the time of their life trying to figure everything out.”

“Whole teams would get registered,” added Hintze. “The spirit of the event was juniors and seniors have a chance to get together as a group and it almost turned into a campus wide.” 

The over-attendance posed a problem for multiple reasons, including the fact that 1,000 guests was close to reaching the maximum capacity that fire code regulations allow for Thorne Dining Hall. 

Additionally, there was not enough food to serve 1,000 guests in accordance with Bowdoin’s policy for events that serve alcohol. Depending on the number of guests attending, there must be a sufficient amount of food to serve alongside the alcoholic options. 

In a follow-up email, Hintze said, “One of our main goals is making sure students are safe and, as with any Bowdoin event with alcohol, food must be provided and making sure there is enough food for all those in attendance will help make sure that students stay safe.” 

Senior Class Treasurer Molly Soloff said that the class councils reached the decision to institute a ticket price because they did not want to fund the attendance of students from other classes. 
She added that the wristband price would dissuade underclassmen from coming, and Student Activities worked to choose “a number that they thought would disincentivize people from coming.” 

“Thirty dollars is a lot for any college student. And it’s really supposed to be a junior and senior event, and the junior and senior class councils pay for it,” said Soloff. “When it’s all underclassmen, it’s like we’re funding an event and the freshmen and sophomore class councils aren’t paying for it.” 

Soloff also said that the $30 charge was intended to accommodate interclass couples.   
“Our options were either having thirty dollars or not allowing any freshmen or sophomores, and we thought that was unfair to people who have boyfriends or girlfriends in younger classes,” she said.

Ultimately, the charge may have already served to strengthen the identity of the event. Hintze said he has been monitoring the registered guests and believes the charge has dissuaded many first-years and sophomores from going. 

“There are definitely fewer guests this year and Res-Life and the College Houses are doing a number of events to encourage people to not just go to the ball,” said Hintze.