The line to purchase a ticket was exceptionally long, stretching roughly 30 feet from the door of the Adams Center to the parking lot. Neither the stars nor the moon were showing due to heavy cloud cover. The temperature was 32 degrees, warm for February. 

Or was it the booze?

The door to last year’s 95th Foresters’ Ball was heavily patrolled by volunteers, keeping an eye out for anyone trying to sneak in or cause any problems. Floodlights illuminated more than 1,600 people as they passed through the door on the second night of the Ball, the most in Foresters’ history. For those waiting to buy a ticket, the temperature made it easy to stand in line. 

This was the first time that the event was held at the Adams Center since it began in Schreiber Gym in 1915. The Forestry Club had to switch venues after the Missoula Fire Department deemed the lack of sprinklers in Schreiber unsafe.

Many of the students arrived after drinking heavily, as had become customary in the Ball’s 94-year history. As a result of public drunkenness, more than 100 people were turned away at the door or kicked out. The debauchery did not escape the scrutiny of University of Montana President Royce Engstrom or the greater University community.  

Organizers of the Foresters’ Ball, which has made the list of Playboy’s best college parties, received unexpected news when they found out the ball was going to be canceled. 

In the wake of an internal investigation of the Universities’ dealings with  reported cases of sexual assault, many believe that the Foresters’ Ball fell victim to the circumstances.

Faculty adviser to the Foresters’ Ball, Beth Dodson, said that the reasons were not clear to the students at the time as to why the event was being canceled. 

The speed at which the temporary decision was made meant it didn’t have time to make it to the foresters before it was announced to the media. Dylan Brooks, former treasurer of the Foresters’ Ball committee and current publicity manager of the event, said that many on the committee found out through KPAX in the week following that the event was canceled.

“Nobody contacted us,” Brooks said.

In December 2011, The University of Montana hired former state Supreme Court Justice Diane Barz to do an internal investigation into University’s handling of sexual assault. Her report detailed, “A risk factor of alcohol has been involved in most reports.”

At an open forum hosted by UM concerning nine sexual assault cases in the week following the Ball, former Grizzly football player Charles Burton held up a copy of the Montana Kaimin’s article titled “From ball to drunken brawls.” He said that if student athletes had been implicated in this event that it would be much more discussed.

The article, written by UM journalism student Spencer Veysey, spoke to the rambunctious and drunken atmosphere of last year’s Foresters’ Ball.  In the report, Veysey wrote, “a group of foresters called ‘the posse’ removed people if they became too rowdy, often trying to diffuse the situation.” 

In the days immediately following the forum, Engstrom announced the cancellation of future Foresters’ Balls.

“[The discussion] started out with the students being told that the ball was done and over with by President Engstrom,” Dodson said. She said that the students then went to Engstrom with changes to the format of the Foresters’ Ball that would address the issues seen in last year’s ball.

Afterwards the two sides opened discussion and President Engstrom wrote a letter to the committee. The letter outlined several stipulations if the ball were to continue:

The time of the Foresters’ Ball must change. 

Exhibits or venues that encourage inappropriate behavior must be eliminated. 

Attendance must be a more “manageable size.”

The ball design must be attractive to and appropriate for families and school-aged children for at least part of the function.

The event must be designed to be more of an educational opportunity.

A clear plan must be in place for controlling admission of individuals under the influence of alcohol.

After much discussion with President Engstrom, the foresters developed an outline for the 96th Foresters’ Ball that both sides can agree on. Brooks and his fellow foresters said they hope the scrutiny of last year’s issues do not effect this long tradition. With maximum possible ticket sales cut to 1,200 this year and an increase in security, students can expect a stall on the Foresters’ Ball drunken fall.

zeno.wicks@umontana.edu

(7) comments

varlaam
varlaam

There are many fun ways in which you can transform a classic and boring ball and and idea can be using Blockbuster Golf Carts. Usually and event like this takes place during summer time and the weather is perfect for moving the ball from the inside in the yard or parking lot. Everybody will remember an experience like this.

Katelyn Holder
Katelyn Holder

A night of heavy drinking will definitely have bad consequences on their health. They will have to go to a doctor or medical assistant because a specialist's help is what they actually need in cases like this one: http://www.onlinemedassistantschools.com/ . Of course, let's not forget that they had a great time, hopefully they don't have to suffer the consequences.

Blues Boy
Blues Boy

Sadly young people think it's cool to ingest alcohol in large quantities, when all they achieve is to make a fool out of themselves, get sick, throw up, forget everything that happened and then deal with the hangover next day. Wouldn't it be nicer if they had just a glass or two, have a nice party, with nice elegant clothes like these Van Heusen shirts, have nice conversations that they will remember the next day? But probably this is how things go when you're young, we've all been there and nothing seems to have changed.

Mary Sanders
Mary Sanders

From the pictures and the article, you can totally see that they had a blast! After all, they're students, for them life is a party. But when it comes to financial services in San Francisco and advices from a student loan counselor. But until they get to that sensitive topic, a little party never killed nobody.

Mary Sanders
Mary Sanders

It's great they had fun, besides studying they definitely need a party once in a while. When it comes to serious business, they should turn to credit service in Bloomington in order to receive a specialized advice regarding how much they can save. After all, life in college isn't an easy job and they need permanent assistance.

Lisa Mercury
Lisa Mercury

From the pictures you can see they had a great time, especially because it was a students' party. After all, they are more down-to-earth the ones that benefit from meisner training Raleigh can definitely see the advantages of putting their act in their own words. This six week intensive will be a life changing experience for all of them and will help them grow and become the actor they have always dreamed to be.

Lisa Mercury
Lisa Mercury

Organizing such an event takes a lot of time and resources but from the pictures you can see they had a blast! Maybe they should have think about placing one of these luxurious aircrafts right at the entrance http://goldenstatejet.com/charter.html it would have been a risky but interesting choice. Anyway, good for them, the future foresters definitely deserved such a great party!


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