Consider more than horse-drawn carriages in your weekend plans
This weekend, students have the options of going to Wiess College’s Night of Decadence and Chi Alpha’s Evening of Elegance.
EOE, an event sponsored by the Christian student organization Chi Alpha, has gained popularity in recent years and occurs on the same evening as NOD. Framed by former EOE student coordinator Timothy Crouch as an alternative to NOD, EOE surpassed NOD in estimated attendance for the first time in 2017 since EOE began five years ago. Last year, we argued that EOE’s $30,000 budget made it a competing event. This year, we wanted to draw attention to the way in which Assemblies of God, the organization that governs Chi Alpha, publicized the event as a “God-honoring” success. While Chi Alpha leaders have framed EOE as an alternative and not a competitor, the Assemblies of God article shows a clear motivation in actively dissuading students from NOD. Chi Alpha is enabling the Assemblies of God, an outside religious organization, to influence our student life; yet more problematic is how the Assemblies of God achieves this by utilizing slut-shaming and moralizing rhetoric.
In the article, missionary and Rice Chi Alpha founder Josh Bell is quoted saying in reference to NOD, “In 2014, we asked the Lord, How do we answer this party?” The answer apparently lies in almost $30,000 in funding with unclear sources. According to the Assemblies of God article, alumni donations fund EOE, but according to Crouch, local church donations make up 10 percent of the funding. This funding goes toward horse-drawn carriages, a live swing band and hors d’oeuvres. In comparison, Wiess spent $13,000 last year on NOD, half of which was spent on security.
Bell continues, saying “We felt like we were setting free half the campus. That continues to be our goal.” This frames EOE as a solution to the problems that Assemblies of God consider unique to NOD, an event they describe as having “[s]tudents donning only their underclothes — or less — attend the iconic campus party fueled by an unlimited supply of alcohol” and “[m]any leave stumbling and drunk, often in tears.”
NOD is by no means a perfect party. There is work that we as a student body can and should do to make sure that partygoers feel comfortable, should they choose to attend. However, these experiences are not unique to NOD — in fact, the only differences between NOD and any other public party are the dress code and the more explicit sexual theme. Arguably, NOD is also not even the most highly attended public party. So why pinpoint this party as the one that requires the $30,000 alternative? The framing of NOD by the article suggests that the drinking and clothes students wear to NOD contributes to how many students experience “unwanted sexual experiences,” perpetuating the slut-shaming belief that a survivor is asking to be assaulted because of what they wear or drink. The rhetoric that Assemblies of God uses is a problematic depiction of EOE as God’s answer to NOD’s immorality.
Lastly, EOE is the only event on campus that has such a strong outside influence on campus based on masked religious motivations. The student body deserves transparency from Chi Alpha concerning the purpose and resourcing of EOE so they can make an informed decision about their Saturday night plans.
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