Confusion Surrounds Dance Policy
By Sara Owen, Managing Editor
UNCP has a dance policy for student organizations, which they must follow in order to have their dance or party on campus. Genshiken, known as the anime club on campus, did not know about the dance policy and included a “rave” on their schedule for Chibi-Con, which was held in the UC Annex on March 15.
Michael Baker, a SGA senator, said he helped the Genshiken president and vice president plan the event and meet with SGA to set up the event and reserve the space in the Annex for the planned date. They did not mention the plan to have a rave because they were not aware they had to.
Baker said he has gone through the Facility Reservation System (FRS) training more than once and never heard about the dance policy or dance lottery. Laura Armstrong, vice president of Genshiken, said she was not aware of the policy or that they were breaking any rules.
There is a dance lottery, which took place in the fall, and involves student organizations choosing prefered dates for dances from a selection of dates pre-approved by the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership. A Genshiken representative did not attend the lottery, because they did not know about it.
The dance policy also requires security to be present. Even though Baker asked campus police to check in on them throughout the day, which officers did, no one was informed security would need to be present for the rave. Chief McDuffie Cummings said there was no dance in his records and that a dance would need to be reported to him beforehand.
Cummings said that with an event as large as Chibi-con, whose attendance is usually in the hundreds, they should have had four police officers present to supervise the group of students dancing. On the evening of March 15 there were only two officers patrolling campus.
He said that once the lights went off it became like a separate event, one not pre-approved by UNCP, so it violated the policy. He said it became a safety issue once the lights went out.
“Once those lights went out and more people got attracted to it we weren’t prepared,” Cummings said.
The rave got started around 9 p.m. and Cummings got a call from one of his officers at 9:21 p.m. He said the officer on patrol did not know what to do about the unexpected dance party. Cummings instructed the officers to break up the party.
Armstrong said there was confusion about the issue and that the officer spoke to Baker before anyone else at the rave, but no one put up a fight. The students stayed behind and cleaned up before going home.
Chief Cummings said that following the dance guidelines, which can be found on the UNCP website, is important because he needs to know when his officers are needed at an event like a dance. He said at least one officer should be at every campus event and more are needed depending on the size of the event.
Campus police is currently shorthanded, according to Cummings. He said there are currently 16 officers and they are short three. One officer is on medical leave.
“It’s tough,” he said.
He said dances need supervision in case something happens. Someone could get hurt or a fight could potentially break out. A police presence is necessary.
Not having any police present is “asking for trouble,” according to Cummings.
Baker said he thinks the strict guidelines are stopping student organizations from wanting to hold dances or events. He said there are some guidelines he agrees with, but he doesn’t think student organizations should have to jump through hoops just to have a dance on campus.
“With these restrictions it makes it impossible to hold a rave or even Chibi-Con,” Baker said.
He said he has already spoken to some SGA members about reforming the dance policy and guidelines. He said he plans to meet with Dr. John Jones, vice chancellor of student affairs, to discuss the issue.
Photo by Alexis Alexander. Students break dance at the Chibi-Con rave in the Annex on March 15.