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Gardner party leaves Main Hall vandalized

Meilynn Smith
After the Lingerie Gardner party hosted in Main Hall by Birding Club on April 13, the laundry room was left with severe damage.

The Main Hall laundry room ceiling tiles were broken, smashed and crumbled on the floor after Lingerie Ball Gardner, hosted by Birding Club on Saturday, April 13. Grace Cuddihy `26 and Edie Worrell `26, members of Birding Club and hosts of the Gardner, said they cleaned up the space until 2:30 a.m., not even thinking to check the laundry room. Although they left feeling like the event was a success, their spirits clouded after seeing the damage on Grinnell’s YikYak, an anonymous social media platform, the next morning. It is unclear who is responsible for the damage. 

If the students responsible for the damages do not come forward, Cuddihy said the cost of repair “would come out of my personal bank account.”

“We have identified students we saw going in and out of the laundry room to Ben Newhouse, but in the case that they are determined to be not guilty, Valery [Mayorga Garcia `26, social coordinator of Birding Club] and I will be financially responsible for the damage,” she said. Citing the policy outlined in an email from Newhouse, Cuddihy said event hosts are typically responsible for any damages that occur. 

Cuddihy and Worrell said they assumed students were punching the ceiling tiles, but they could not confirm what actually happened. They said the laundry machines looked jostled around and the door to one of the washers had been torn off — although Annie Wilber `27, who lives in Main, said the door was broken prior to the Gardner. 

The door to a washing machine in Main Hall was broken during a previous Gardner party. (Meilynn Smith)

Cuddihy said they came to the laundry room the next day to throw away the ceiling tiles and sweep the dust off the floor. “That’s not the responsibility of facilities management to deal with,” she said, “but obviously there are some things that are just beyond our capacity to handle.” 

This was after Birding Club members spent two hours after the event cleaning up the space. “We were really committed to keeping the space clean and being respectful,” Cuddihy said. “We were picking up dirty rose petals with our hands that had been stepped on all night.”  

In terms of the damage, Worrell said, “I think it’s insanely disrespectful.” 

As a host, she said her priority throughout the night was to make sure people felt safe, comfortable and knowledgeable about where to get help if they needed it. Hosts wore glow-in-the-dark bracelets so they could be easily identifiable. 

“My job is not to make sure that you are not destroying college property,” Worrell said. “I’m a fellow peer who has been very gracious in creating and hosting this event. It drives me crazy that people would even think that it’s okay. They are taking such advantage of our kindness and the work and effort we spent putting on this awesome event for them.” 

Lingerie Ball had been in the works since February, Cuddihy and Worrell said. Ordering decorations, coordinating with Freesound, Grinnell Concerts Committee and Jordon Ryan `24, the featured musical artist –– setting up, cleaning and adhering to their budget took the club “hours and hours of work,” Cuddihy said. 

Hayden Suarez-Davis `25 and Liv Larson `26, Student Government Association (SGA) Concerts Chairs, co-wrote in an email to The S&B that, “this level of damage was far beyond what we’ve seen in the past.” 

“We are both really sad and disappointed by it. It’s very disrespectful to students hosting events — they put in hours of unpaid work so that Grinnellians can have something to do on weekend nights,” they wrote. “Not only is it disrespectful to students, but it’s also extremely disrespectful to the Facilities Management workers who are the ones cleaning up and repairing the damage. It’s the antithesis of self-gov, and makes things worse for everyone on campus.”

During the Lingerie Ball itself, Cuddihy and Grace both said they thought the event went well. 

“People seemed like they were having a really good time,” Cuddihy said. “As a host, I didn’t have people coming up to me with concerns.” 

“I think overall it was really successful,” Worrell said. “The turnout was really really good.” 

Wilber, who attended the event to see Jordon Ryan around 11 p.m., said, “I thought it was a very fun event while I was there.” But when she saw the laundry room the next morning, she said she was surprised. “I think it’s inconsiderate. I don’t know why people thought that was a good idea to do during a party because I feel like it has the potential to ruin Gardners for the whole student body, even though it was probably just one or two people.” 

Elyse Pender `27, a Main Hall resident, said the damages to the laundry room and messes after parties like Lingerie Ball are, “more of a nuisance than a big issue.” 

Even so, she discussed the aftermath of Kink Gardner where she said there were “disgusting things to see as a resident” such as “used condoms on the floor outside the elevator.”  

“I think there’s just a larger culture right now where people are not being respectful when they are coming to events,” Cuddihy said. Worrell echoed that sentiment and said damage similar to what happened in Main Hall is recurring more frequently. 

“We love hosting and we want to keep doing it, but [Birding] Club is primarily made up of small women, and if you’re punching the ceiling, as a host I don’t feel comfortable engaging in that situation,” Cuddihy said. “We had a really fun time, we thought this was a successful evening, but now this has been really stressful and it could increase the financial burden on us as individuals.” 

Worrell said in order for Birding Club to host events in the future, they have to take this event into account. Additionally, the threat of a potential “financial burden that is going to lay on the individual students is going to be a deterrent,” she said.

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About the Contributors
Claire Giannosa
Claire Giannosa, Staff Writer

Claire Giannosa is a second-year from New York City studying English and Anthropology at Grinnell. In her free time, she loves reading and writing fantasy books and going on sunset walks with friends. Besides studying, leading Creative Writing Club, and S&B work she can usually be found on Mac Field playing ultimate frisbee.

Gabriela Roznawska
Gabriela Roznawska, Graphic Designer
Gabriela Rożnawska is a second-year student majoring in Computer Science, Psychology and concentrating in Linguistics from Krakow, Poland. She is likely to be spotted longboarding around town and, if stopped, would be delighted to discuss tornados, planes, rodents and plans for an upcoming multi-city trip.
ET Ourn
ET Ourn, Graphic Designer
Engtieng (ET) is a first-year student from Cambodia who intends to major in Economics with a concentration in Statistics. During her time at Grinnell, she played ultimate frisbee and admits to unintentionally hitting others with the disc countless times. Her hobbies include crochet, jigsaw puzzles, video games, and watching K-dramas.
Meilynn Smith
Meilynn Smith, Staff Photographer
Meilynn is a first-year from Vancouver, Washington. She is an intended biology major and wants to go into physical therapy in the future. She enjoys playing soccer, hanging out with friends, going on hikes, and photographing wildlife. 
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  • Y

    Yudora PetraitisApr 20, 2024 at 12:10 pm

    Yeah, no, they weren’t the ones who cleaned up the ceiling tiles. I did that at ten in the morning on Sunday when I came downstairs to do my laundry. I was coughing from the dust. Main residents deal with this every other weekend. Don’t come into MY building, host a party, and then cry about how YOU’RE the one being disrespected when the guests make a mess.

    • A

      AnonymousApr 20, 2024 at 1:39 pm

      I don’t understand why you’re mad at the hosts. It is an all campus party, they don’t control who comes in. It would be different if it was an exclusive party, but it wasn’t.

      Main contains an event space, it’s not just a residence hall. You shouldn’t live in Main if you don’t want to party, this is coming from someone who specifically requested living in East because I don’t party.

    • A

      AnonymousApr 20, 2024 at 4:11 pm

      It’s not “your” building. It IS disrespectful to the hosts because, if you read the article, the hosts are the ones responsible for paying for the damage—NOT you. Gardner events are essential to campus history and culture. The real people you should be frustrated with are the ones responsible for the damage.

      • Y

        Yudora PetraitisApr 21, 2024 at 9:02 pm

        To preface, I am a first year and did not choose to live in Main. Yes, Gardener may be an event space, but it is still part of a residence hall. If you want to throw a party in a residence hall, you should take the responsibility to ensure guests are not damaging its facilities. Just because we aren’t the ones paying for the damages, doesn’t mean we don’t have to deal with the consequences. See above.

        • E

          EdieApr 23, 2024 at 6:37 pm

          Hey Yudora,

          Sorry to hear that you’re so upset about this issue. I get that it’s frustrating that you did not choose to live in main and yet still have to deal with these damages— however, I think that your anger is being grossly misdirected. As a host (who is quoted in this article) we worked very hard to ensure that lingerie ball would be a safe and enjoyable environment for all guests. That being said, there were only a handful of sober hosts— and we each had different tasks that we were assigned to throughout the night on top of roaming the event to ensure that everyone was behaving properly. It really saddens me to see a lack of appreciation for the people on this campus who put in the work to make fun events that so many people at this school love to attend. While we obviously were keeping an eye out for damages— it is not OUR job to make sure that grown adults are not wrecking property, especially in the laundry room (which isn’t even a part of the event space). As soon as we learned of the issue, two of our hosts went back to help clean up the laundry room, so I’m actually not sure why youre insinuating that we didn’t help clean that up. We cleaned up the entire event space, in fact, and I’d be happy to share the Timelapse that I took of that whole process with you. We take responsibility for the event, but we obviously don’t take responsibility for the damages. We tried as hard as we could with the resources we had but things happen and, again, it’s not our problem when grown adults act like children throwing a temper tantrum. Sorry for the long comment— I guess it just really irks me when people misdirect their anger onto hosts who are trying to create a safe and enjoyable event rather than the people that actually do the damage. Hope this helps clear up some things!