ASUC, Administration Closer to Finalizing Dance Policy

Tiffany Hsu covers student government. Contact her at [email protected]

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Five years after the university began cracking down on student dances, ASUC and campus administrators are one step closer to finalizing a new "user-friendly" dance policy for the fall.

The proposed changes ensure that the university will cover security fees and may also include provisions for online advertising and day-of ticket sales.

Officials said the university will pool funds from UCPD to subsidize the costs of dance security, which current policy requires student groups to cover, a stipulation beyond most budgets.

The high costs of holding events in Pauley Ballroom and other large spaces have been "prohibitive for all but the largest and best-funded groups," said ASUC President Misha Leybovich, who is working with the administration to craft the new policy.

"There ought to be a lot more groups putting events on, because now it'll be affordable for virtually any group on campus," Leybovich said. "They can do it without charging an arm and a leg to cover their costs."

Officials said they are also considering a proposal that would allow students to purchase event tickets on campus the day of an event or online several days before. Dance organizers are currently prohibited from selling tickets at the door because university officials have said the late sales can throw off the police department's attendance estimates.

Leybovich also said he is working with administrators to allow groups to advertise events online. Internet promotion is currently not allowed because of concerns that online advertisements would draw nonstudents to the events.

ASUC officials and university representatives initiated discussions to tweak the dance policy last semester with "a set of proposed changes that still met the needs of effective dance management," said Dean of Students Karen Kenney.

The negotiations come five years after the original policy was dramatically revised, when Berkeley High and UC Berkeley students rioted and defaced property on Telegraph Avenue twice in one year after being turned away from student dances in Pauley Ballroom.

After the second incident in August 2001, Telegraph area vendors threatened legal action against the university, prompting the creation of a task force of students and city and university officials to revise the dance policy. Since then, students have attempted to reverse the changes, saying that the policy prevents most student groups from holding large-scale events.

Kenney said the task force will review the proposed changes within the next few weeks. The proposal will also be brought before the Telegraph Board of Merchants next week, Leybovich said.

They anticipate that the revised policy will take effect early next semester for a two-year trial run.

Leybovich said the revisions, especially the change in security costs, could not be more timely, since the annual ASUC budget meeting tonight will finalize student group budgets for next year.

"We want them to know that, at least, they don't have to worry about this one large cost," Leybovich said. "They should continue contributing to a more stimulating and rich student life on campus."


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