Dance bans swept across campus in 2005

Bridget Janis, Features Editor

People on a campus coming together at an event is an important part of the college atmosphere. In 2005, bans made on dances that didn’t allow non-Oakland University students to be on campus for student-run events made it harder for student organizations to have alumni and current students gather together.

The bans were made after issues following an event on Feb. 18, 2005. The OU Police Department ended up issuing warrants for five individuals for different reasons that night — and none of them were OU students. 

That night, there was a fight within the Oakland Center, a felonious assault in the hallway of the 3000 building in the University Student Apartments and a group of individuals who forced their way into a room in the 2000 building in the University Student Apartments. All these events led to a ban on dances and for non-OU students from being on campus.

The concerns of the members and advisers of student organizations were addressed during a formal meeting by Jean Ann Miller, director of the Center for Student Activities at the time, and Glenn McIntosh, the dean of students and other campus administrators. 

When addressing a main concern from students on campus who were worried parents and friends would not be able to attend their on-campus events, McIntosh said, “If student organizations feel they need to open their event up to the external community, then it is a sign they are not meeting the needs of the current students.”

Representatives from various student organizations such as the Association of Black Students, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Muslim Student Association showed up to the meeting to express their opinions and offer suggestions.

One highly suggested idea was allowing each OU student to bring and have the responsibility of watching over two non-OU people at every dance or event, and along with requiring of 10 workers at an event. 

Also, idea of setting two different policies: one for events that were just for fun and another for events that are showcasing the university. Jonathan Parks, student body president at the time, said dances were used as a way to fundraise — and that was all they are used for.

The idea of having outside participants within the university attending events did not make sense to McIntosh at the time. He said alumni and parents attending student organization events are not appropriate because they are not the intended audience. 

Members of the OU community such as Tina Marleau, a member of the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority at the time, felt that “excluding people is not going to make your community stronger.”

While some members of the community believed the ban on non-OU members being on campus would help student organizations refocus their attention to pleasing the interests of students, there were some people contradicting this idea, claiming that student organizations are made to bring all types of people together.

The ban on both of these issues was planned to last until the end of the winter semester, forcing student organizations to come up with new ways to fundraise and gather people on campus.