by Esther Sung
One of the biggest and best-known parties of the year is almost here: Night of
Decadence. With the excitement of hosting a party, however, come certain
security concerns, and Wiess College social coordinators plan to protect the
safety of Rice students who attend the party by instituting several NOD
security policy changes.
"I think almost every Rice party that involves alcohol has ... the potential
danger for assaults, vandalism and theft," Wiess President George Fotinos said.
"Sexual assaults can and have happened at other Rice parties, I'm sure, but
then with NOD there's an extra precaution that needs to be taken under the
circumstances of the theme, the amount of alcohol consumed that night and the
number of non-Rice people present."
NOD safety was originally brought up as an issue by Wiess master John
Hutchinson, Fotinos said. Wiess members talked about the issue at Wiess Summit,
discussed it at Wiess' social committee meetings and finally made the decisions
to change policy during a cabinet meeting. "The issue was not an impetuous move
on Wiess' part. Wiess took a lot of time and effort to make these decisions,"
"Wiess has had problems in the past with people who are not Rice students and
who have no affiliation with the campus," one of the two social coordinators
and Wiess College junior Diana Coffa said. "Because they're not from Rice,
they are less respectful of Rice institutions, like the alcohol policy."
"There's a very high percentage chance that the Texas Alcohol and Beverage
Commission will be at Wiess [on the night of NOD], so it's very important that
Rice students adhere to the alcohol policy," social coordinator and Wiess
College junior Ethan Schultz said.
As a result of those concerns, this year anyone who is not a Rice student or
guest may not attend NOD. "People need to let Wiess know ahead of time how many
friends they're bringing," Fotinos said. "You can still buy tickets for your
friends in advance."
By admitting only Rice students and their guests, the social coordinators
believe that Wiess will be able to prevent unnecessary problems in advance or
will at least know who the responsible parties are in the event of trouble. "We
are trying to eliminate the widely accepted number - one threat of violations
at NOD," Schultz said.
Schultz also said that the college hopes to employ 50 Wiess volunteers to
supplement the security provided by the Campus Police. In addition, Coffa and
Schultz hope to establish security at other colleges from the colleges and
their residents themselves. "A lot of the problems that occur on the night of
NOD are not on Wiess grounds but are on the grounds of other colleges," Schultz
said. He and Coffa have requested that each college ask eight volunteers to
provide security in its own buildings in two-person, one-hour shifts.
"You don't want NOD to be the worst night of your life. You want to have one
hell of a time. But at the same time, NOD is a night to go a little bit crazy,"
Schultz said. Besides safety considerations, Coffa and Schultz have also put a
great deal of time and effort into the party itself. This year's theme for NOD
is "Circus," with the slogan "The Greatest NOD on Earth."
"The reason we chose the circus theme is because there's an enormous potential
for variety as far as costumes are concerned," Coffa explained. "We expect to
see lots and lots of costumes."
The Wiess Socials Committee has already begun preparing decorations and
arranged for the band Arrival to play. "We've seen them play in Houston, and
they seem to be a high-energy cover and original band," Schultz said.
"Wiess College puts a lot of time into NOD. We're really, really proud of it,"
Fotinos said. All of Wiess' plans and policies concerning NOD are to ensure
both the party's success as well as people's safety, he said.
"What we want to emphasize is that not having off-campus people will not affect
the party," Coffa said. "As far as the actual mood of the party, it will make
very little difference."
"NOD is the best party on campus, hands down, feet down, pants down," Schultz
said. "Come to NOD, have a great time, but use your better judgment."
This item appeared in the News section of the October 17, 1997 issue.