NWU cancels campus winter formal amid safety concerns

By: Lauren Fabrizi

Nebraska Wesleyan University has canceled their annual winter formal due to liability concerns.

The winter formal is an off–campus event all students can attend. The school provides bus transportation to and from a chosen venue. But Dean Peter Armstrong said it’s what goes on before and after the event that’s raising concern.

“We just felt this was the year that we needed to step back, take another look, see if there are new precautions that we have to put in place, so that we really truly minimize the risks to students,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong said a challenge they’ve faced is students drinking too much before the event. He said it’s also hard to ensure students don’t wander off or get behind the wheel intoxicated after the event.

The winter formal has been going on for the last seven or eight years, but the dean said with recent attention to college students and alcohol abuse nationwide, and after consulting with a legal counsel, he determined it was best to call it off for the safety of all students.

“Kind of a bummer because it’s kind of like our one big event we get to do,” junior Nicole Stull said. “But I understand where they’re coming from. It’s hard to keep a thousand students together.”

“I think there should be some kind of replacement, there should be something for people to do,” student James Hamerick said.

Armstrong said since they cannot provide alcohol to students at on–campus events, a replacement formal isn’t feasible. 

The school will be sending out a survey via email in the coming weeks to gather input on new events to bring to campus. It’s unknown at this time when those events would be.

The dean said he’s also uncertain whether the formal will be brought back in the coming years.