Prohibition Era at Bay

Reimert Hall 1978, Image sourced from:

Article by Emily Britland <>

Don’t worry, no new crackdown on parties is happening… for now. However, rumors of a “prohibition era” circulated through the Ursinus student body throughout the semester after some early incidents led to an administrative response. 

     Saturday nights in Collegeville usually amount to your average college weekend – loud music, drunk 20-somethings, and crowded sidewalks. This school year, though, there were reports of some rowdier-than-usual Bears roaming the streets on the weekends. This rowdiness included jaywalking, carrying open, labeled containers outdoors, and even yelling at passing cars. After the Collegeville Police Department got involved, Bryant laid down the gauntlet with an ominous email sent to the entire student body on September 14th. Dean of Students Missy Bryant’s email stated, ※to ensure the safety of all students and the sustainability of these events, I may need to consider these measures if the safety concerns are not addressed,§ with measures including only allowing closed events, introducing an event limit, and banning Main Street events as a whole.

     This message resulted in panic amongst students, especially as events dwindled during the month and a half in which Greek life “New Member Education” occurred instead of parties. Online forums filled with comments from some fearing that their end-of-week celebrations would come to a close for a semester. Zach Olsen *25 said he took the possibility seriously. “I think the threats are legit because they’ve been trying to kill party life on campus since I’ve been here, and eventually it’ll happen.”

     Of course the prohibition of events on Main Street would eliminate fun weekend activities, but other concerns arose as well. Many students thought losing a space to blow off their weekly steam as a community could affect their mental health and academic performance. Olsen stated, “We work so hard during the week to let loose on the weekends, and not having areas where people can hang out and have a good time on the weekends [would be] awful.§ Other students speculated that the withholding of safe spaces to consume alcohol would only cause students to partake in unsafe ways, such as in secret, or in unsupervised spaces where those who can offer help in an unfortunate event will not be readily available. Payton Fritz ‘26 stated, “Canceling events would create an environment where people find & secret parties that are more dangerous because they are afraid of possible consequences, and having a safe space to party is the entire purpose of a wet campus.”

     Fortunately, many students also believed it was the responsibility of the entire student body to be on their best behavior on the weekends in order to preserve their privileges. “I think it’s annoying because it’s not everybody’s fault,” Lauren Davis ‘25, stated. “I’ve gone out on the weekend and I’ve never had the urge to be holding a handle of alcohol and destroy property.” This may be true for many Ursinus students. However, in her email, Bryant had emphasized the need for all students and faculty to ※work together§ in order to maintain their social events, even including the non-troublemakers.

     The resulting effort to work together was very noticeable. Both Halloween/Homecoming Weekend well as the following weekend went smoothly. Main Street student event directors have been noticeably mindful of capacity limits, and students agree that they are working very hard to maintain order amongst partygoers. These students are banding together to ensure that they do not miss out on the tight-knit community the Bears have created. Logan Lentz ‘25 believes that, “Our community aspect of our school is a big reason that we come, and if we take out all nighttime activities then I think we’ll lose that aspect of our school entirely and our school will be labeled as ‘dull’.” 

     Following this good behavior, Bryant sent another email complimenting students on their improvement following her previous email. Though Bryant’s possible measures could still come to pass if things go awry, it goes to show that if the Bears stay tame, they won’t have to be caged anytime soon.