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100 Days raises questions on consent


100 Days is a tradition for graduating seniors to gather in celebration of their last few days at the College. The event is informally understood to be a “makeout party,” and although in previous years it was sponsored and run by the Student Government Association (SGA), this year’s 100 Days event did not receive funds. SGA funding has typically provided All Campus Event Student Safety (ACESS) security and food for the event, but has never covered the purchase of alcohol. This year, students funded and organized the entire event independently of SGA.

Emily Porter, Colin Greenman, Kahlil Epps, Nick Roberson and Henry Bolster, all ’18, worked to plan 100 Days. According to these students, there are three reasons why 100 Days did not receive SGA funding. First, they say, students started planning the event too late. There was confusion about who was hosting the event and where it would be held, and this confusion resulted in creating a request too close to the date requested. 

“The way it went down this year is somewhat at the fault of the students for not planning ahead or being aware that they had to plan that far ahead. There is definitely the ability to have it the way that it has been in previous years next year as long as people are on top of their [things],” Roberson said.

Additionally, the students were not able to meet the stipulation of having ACESS present at the party to be granted SGA funding. The party is typically hosted off-campus, and ACESS, now under the Division of Student Affairs, are no longer allowed to work off of Grinnell’s campus.

Further, to have 100 Days, harm reduction requirements, such as tabling and postering, must be met. Administrators felt that the date was too close to allow for sufficient conversations to take place. 

“At the time of the request, the students had not done the proper planning to ensure a successful event and had not build [sic] in time for harm reductive measures to be employed,” wrote Sarah Moschenross, dean of students, in an email to The S&B.

“Grinnell is all about harm reduction, so asking people for money for alcohol shows that the party is primarily for getting drunk, and the school doesn’t want that to happen,” Epps added. 

Lastly, the general reputation of the party and issues of Title IX played a role. 

Epps felt that it was more than just logistical failings that lead to the absence of SGA funding. 

“The school just didn’t want the party on campus because of damage from previous years and also the Title IX problems of consent that have happened at other parties,” Epps said.

While Moschenross stated that the reason that SGA funding was not granted was only due to the lateness of the request, she did acknowledge that administration is aware of the issues that have arisen with the event in the past. 100 Days has a reputation of allowing for situations to arise in which the lines of consent are blurred. 

“I’m not going to pretend that there wasn’t some concern about that, but it wasn’t the motivation for not having the party,” Moschenross wrote.

Emily Ricker ’18, who participated in conversations with 100 Days organizers leading up to the event, knew that consent had always been an issue at 100 Days. But she felt that despite the lack of SGA-sponsored harm reductive measures, the student organizers appropriately handled the discourse about consent leading up to 100 Days.

“This year I was really impressed with how the organizers dealt with the issue of consent. Specifically, they sent an email out to all the fourth years prior to the event and it had a lot of logistic details, but a pretty major portion of that email was discussing explicitly the expectations around consent,” Ricker said.

Epps shared this positive outlook on the issue of consent and feels that there were far less consensual problems this year than in years past.

“From what I could tell, … everyone seemed to be having fun and was in good spirits, as far as from what I observed, there were no Title IX issues, everyone seemed to be asking for consent and being respectful,” Epps said.

Moschenross noted, however, that there is a considerable length of time between non-consensual encounters and reports, meaning that no one can be immediately sure of how consent was handled at 100 Days.

“The average time between an incident of sexual misconduct happening and when a student comes forward is 11 months, so a lot of times when something has happened victim-survivors don’t come forward right away and that’s okay,” Moschenross said.

Mosechenross stressed that both students and administration are on the same side when it comes to campus-wide parties. While Moschenross says that she wants students to have the opportunity for a campus-wide party, she says that sufficient planning for student safety is a necessity to make the event happen in a safe way.

“We encourage students to get alcohol agreements. We are completely in support of organized parties with student safety and trained servers so that alcohol use doesn’t have to be covert but can be enjoyed safely. I think we have a shared goal of parties being safe, inclusive, and fun,” Moschenross said.

Roberson is doubtful about the future of campus-wide parties at Grinnell College, as over time, many traditional parties have stopped receiving funding.   

“It’s just kind of going with the trend that I think I and a lot of other people noticed that the school is shielding themselves from any kind of liability that could occur,” he said. 

However, Grinnellians are still looking for ways to reconcile traditions and awareness of consent. Ricker is confident that this is not unattainable for the College.

“A lot of Grinnellians are really invested in the idea of maintaining traditions associated with Grinnell, I think that’s really important. … I just think that should never be done at the expense of others’ bodily autonomy and I think we can come to a solution. I don’t think it’s impossible to create environments in which peoples’ bodily autonomy is respected and Grinnellian traditions are maintained,” Ricker said.

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