The aftermath of the Semester Start Party

Skrevet af Nicolai Brændstrup BoesenJesper Snedker Adamsen, (versioning) - Foto: Jørn Albertus - 5. november 2014 - 16:000 kommentarer
Many students had to wait in line for a long time as the indoor facilities were filled to the brim.

Fights, excessively drunk guests, and significant security issues characterized this year’s Semester Start Party. The organizers are now discussing what measures to implement at next year’s party to avoid the same scenario. 

The days after the party were overshadowed by shocking news that an exchange student had been raped after the party. However, there were also several things that went wrong during the party.

A series of regrettable incidents that occurred during the party are now being looked into. Despite these incidents, the organizers, CBS, Café Nexus, and CBS Students agree that, overall, the party was a success.

Outdoor piddling equals ejection

Many of the party guests opted to urinate in the bushes and hedges surrounding Solbjerg Plads instead of using the festival toilets set up by the organizers.

As a consequence, a total of 30 students were ejected from the party and had their student ID cards confiscated, says René Steffensen, Campus Director.

CBS has received several complaints from neighbors of Solbjerg Plads, e.g. from the Court of Frederiksberg, describing problems with excessive noise, public urination, and piles of litter.

It is hardly the first time that CBS has received complaints from the surrounding community.

Entrance area a complete havoc

It is estimated that 4,000 students participated in the outdoor party during the afternoon. The indoor party area could only accommodate 2,000 students and as students started lining up to get inside it created a massive bottleneck.

Several students experienced that the fence in front of the entrance was misplaced, which resulted in an outbreak of pushing and shoving.

Some sections of the fence could not stand the pressure from the massive crowd and were found lying around the next morning.

Kate Pilkington, Manager of Café Nexus, assures that the fence was correctly placed before the party started:

- Last year’s party provided us with some valuable experiences, i.e. we placed the fences in the same way this year. However, this year the crowd was unexpectedly large, and the facilities and the security personnel were not geared for this scenario.

When fists do the talking

3 incidents of violent disputes between students were registered at the party.

CBS Legal has informed CBS OBSERVER that two cases are currently being investigated, involving a total of 3 students.

As the cases are still being processed CBS Legal cannot disclose any further information, but says that cases are typically concluded by issuing warnings or suspensions, and in the most serious instances expulsion is an option.

When alcohol goes in, the mind goes out

The outdoor festivities started as the bar opened at 1 pm and the speakers provided loud music from 3 pm, i.e. if people wanted to, they could get drunk early on; but the party started at the same hour as last year, so if significantly more people got drunk this year, it could be attributed to the exceptionally fine weather of the late summer.

Charlotte Gjedde, President of CBS Students, and Kate Pilkington, Manager of Café Nexus, both reject the idea that serving beer from 1 pm caused the commotion in the entrance area or the violent disputes between students. Excessively drunk guests were turned away at the entrance and told to cool off before getting in.

However, they agree that the violent disputes were a disgrace.

- When many people are gathered there will always be a few rotten apples trying to ruin the fun for others by being aggressive. This is very unfortunate, but these incidents were handled competently by security during the evening, says Charlotte Gjedde.

The planning is being revised

Naturally, the organizers agree that these incidents should be completely avoided at next year’s party. No specific initiatives have been decided on yet, but among other things being discussed, issuing entry tickets is an option.

What measures to implement will be decided on before March next year when planning of the Semester Start Party 2015 commences. The focus of CBS management, CBS Students, and Café Nexus is to find a solution that benefits both students and the surrounding community at Solbjerg Plads.

Nexus cooperates with crowd management experts

As mentioned before, the large crowd at the party created a bottleneck in the entrance area, which caused some problems for security. As a consequence, the consulting firm ConCom Safety, which specializes in crowd management, was hired to assist in-house security in relation to the scheduled party at Café Nexus the week after the Semester Start Party.

ConCom Safety has handled crowd management and security at the concerts at Roskilde Festival for several years, and ConCom Safety and Nexus have now agreed on a permanent contract.

- We fully acknowledge that there were problems in the entrance area and we are evaluating the issues. At the subsequent party at Nexus new security measures were introduced and we continually try to improve security at our events, says Charlotte Gjedde.

Location is paramount

The Semester Start Party is the grand annual party at CBS, and the purpose of the event is to welcome new students and mark the beginning of the new semester. Thus, it requires a larger setup than other, smaller parties at CBS.

- The event is held at Solbjerg Plads to accommodate a sense of belonging among the new students; and that is important, says Charlotte Gjedde.

The campus area is private property, i.e. CBS is not obliged to apply for municipal permits or to notify neighbors in relation to parties in this specific area. However, every year on the day of the Semester Start Party, Café Nexus hosts a cozy get-together for people from the surrounding community to score some goodwill points ahead of a night of loud music and heavy drinking.

CBS takes complaints from neighbors very seriously and sound measurements are carried out during the party to ensure that the legal requirements are met, and to maintain the positive relationship with the neighbors.

Solbjerg Plads is pushed to the limit

The physical framework of the campus area is put to the test in relation to the party. René Steffensen, Campus Director, thinks that Solbjerg Plads is a tad too small for a party of this size, which is often illuminated by lines and lines of students waiting to get to use the indoor toilet facilities.

Thus, students at CBS cannot expect the event to increase in size, says Charlotte Gjedde:

- We have acknowledged that the facilities at Solbjerg Plads do not allow this.

Management will decide in February

The organizers, CBS, Café Nexus, and CBS Students, all agree that they are equally responsible for the problems generated by this year’s party, e.g. the security issues. Until March the party will be evaluated and possible solutions will be discussed.

Eventually, Campus Director René Steffensen is to submit a recommendation of the proposed solutions to the Board of Directors and conclusively the Board will decide on what measures to implement in relation to next year’s party.

One thing is guaranteed, though; there will be a party at Solbjerg Plads next year as well, but the setup will be significantly changed – hopefully for the benefit of all parties involved.