CPW events allowed to extend past 1 a.m.

Consensus reached between student leaders and the MIT administration

Campus Preview Weekend (CPW) events can now once again be held past 1 a.m., according to the Undergraduate Association (UA) President Sidhanth P. Rao ’14. However, all events held after 1 a.m. must have a “wind-down” component, and will be presented in a different style in the Admissions Office CPW booklet. The announcement comes after the MIT Admissions Office’s announcement in December of a ban on all events between 1 and 6 a.m. In previous years, CPW events were allowed to be held after 3 a.m. as long as there was a safety plan to get the prefrosh home.

The decision to reverse the original ban came after several meetings between student representatives and the administration over the past two months. The most recent consensus was hashed out in two meetings last Thursday and Friday between the UA, Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart PhD ’88, Dean of Undergraduate Education Dennis Freeman PhD ’86, and Dean of Admissions Stuart Schmill ’86.

In addition, the administration also agreed to begin allowing MIT students to serve on the CPW Advisory Committee, which currently consists only of MIT staff. It was at the recommendation of the committee that the 1 a.m. ban was first implemented, after the members looked into the official Institute policy that all MIT events must end no later than 1 a.m. (Exceptions are made for events such as HackMIT and Mystery Hunt).

It is currently unknown who or how many students will serve on the committee. In an interview with The Tech, UA Vice President Devin T. Cornish ’14 estimated that a few students — most likely student leaders — will be the first student members on the committee. After that, the UA plans to go through the standard UA Nomination Board procedure for placing students on Institute Committees.

According to Barnhart, the agreed-upon goals of last week’s meetings were to “protect the mental and physical well-being of prefrosh and students, and to bring the CPW program into alignment with Institute policy and with what happens during the school year.”

“Sid and Devin pointed out that late night, wind-down events are key enablers of highly valued, small group and one-on-one conversations,” she said. “We agreed… so, to achieve our goals and also provide the opportunity for wind down events and conversations, we thought that the official program could be complemented by an ‘After Hours’ program with specialized events for those who are not ready to call it a day at 1 a.m.”

Cornish explained that food, game, and movie events would fall under the wind-down category and would not need a justification when they are submitted. However, more high-energy events such as Capture the Flag and Firehose would need a justification as to why they would have to occur after 1 a.m. At the UA Council Meeting last night, Rao said that a suitable reason for holding Firehose late at night could be the difficulty of scheduling such a large-scale event during the day when many official Institute events occur.

“We felt that there was a lot of dissatisfaction [with the rule], and that this was an issue that united most students,” said Rao. “During our time as UA President and Vice President, we haven’t seen an issue that has had as much widespread support from all constituencies and student governments as this specific issue. We believe it’s because late-night culture is something that is emblematic to MIT and students really value and want to display that during CPW.”

Originally, DormCon and the UA were planning on implementing an event submission moratorium to the CPW booklet until a compromise with the administration could be reached.

“We kind of felt in our gut that with enough time and with enough discourse that we could have some progress on this rule,” described Cornish. “And so, we really wanted to make sure that we had that leverage and that students would be able to take advantage of the time where we were still having these talks simply to hold off on their events. That’s where the spirit of some sort of event moratorium came about.”

As part of the consensus, post-1 a.m. events will be printed in a separate section in the booklet, perhaps under a heading such as “After Hours.” But all events will still be listed chronologically so as not to confuse the prefrosh.

“We wanted to create something that highlights that this is a transition of CPW. You’re going from Day CPW to CPW After Hours,” explained Cornish. “That’s why it’s going to have its own section in the CPW booklet and its formatting will be different. It does two things. In one aspect, it doesn’t compel prefrosh to go to events past 1 a.m. subtly, but it also doesn’t create a barrier for those prefrosh who are interested in pursuing events that will happen after 1 a.m.”

He added, “Our goal is that in manifest, CPW should not feel any different from past years. Strategically, students can enjoy the same amount of excitement throughout the day but have a dedicated period of wind down that I think we should encourage all MIT students to have towards the later portion of the evening.”