Fun strikes back: Students optimistic as party policy changes take effect

Feb. 6, 2024, 10:54 p.m.

Several months after Stanford updated its policies around party registration and planning, students have increasingly expressed optimism about social life on campus.

Among the notable policy changes — an effort spearheaded by ASSU Executive President Sophia Danielpour ’24 and Executive Vice President Kyle Haslett ’25 — are a faster and more simplified party registration process completed via Google Form, as well as a reduction in the number of sober monitors required to be present per party. 

For Daniepour and Haslett, who won the ASSU election last year on the basis of a “Fun Strikes Back” campaign, the changes come as part of a wider effort to improve student social life.

“[After the policy change], we’ve seen an increased number of parties registered in the first quarter,” Haslett said. “We took out a lot of repeated information while providing support for some other party measures such as security pilots and bartending pilots.”  

Former Interfraternity Council (IFC) president Jude Reiferson ’24, who has been on the receiving end of these changes, described the new party policies as being more streamlined. He said the policy changes have helped allow more spontaneity with on-campus parties, since student organizations can fill out the form one week before the planned party instead of two weeks. 

“When I talk to people, it feels like I hear less people complaining,” Reiferson said. “The spontaneity aspect of the policy changes can still be improved, but there is massive progress and we are moving in the right direction.” 

Reiferson pointed to Samuel Santos, associate vice provost for inclusion, community and integrative learning, as a key figure who has helped bridge the information gap between fraternities and school administrators. By taking student feedback into consideration, Reiferson said, the new party policies have been able to create a more inclusive party environment.

The Daily has reached out to the current IFC administration for comment.

According to Haslett, although the number of sober monitors per party have been reduced, the updated policies still provide for extensive sober monitor training. They also provide student groups with additional resources to ensure student safety, such as stationing SUPD at different entrances to control large crowds.

“I think we have good sober monitors in training,” Haslett said. “[They receive] a lot of practice and support with party guideline Canvas courses to complete. There are a lot of measures taken to ensure the safety of students.” 

According to Erika Li ’27, who said she goes to all-campus parties to spend time with friends, the reduction of sober monitors has not led to any negative experiences at parties. 

“I hear that people think [the Stanford party scene] is not as vibrant as other schools, but it is good enough and serves its purpose,” Li said. “I feel pretty safe because I go with people I know.” She acknowledged that going alone and under the influence could be “dangerous.” 

Reiferson thinks the changes are an “upgrade”. Based on the original party policies, Reiferson said, a typical all-campus party with more than 600 students would require 26 sober monitors to be selected from a Greek organization with less than 100 students, excluding the president and the vice president.

According to Reiferson, old policies placed a heavy responsibility on fraternities to keep students safe, while also adhering to University guidelines. Mistakes could result in an investigation, which he said were often unfairly pursued against Greek organizations.

“When a violation is filed, there is a box on the RA form that asks whether it involves a Greek organization,” Reiferson said. “You feel like even if one thing gets wrong, we will be put under investigation and hold heavy responsibility for it.” 

The University wrote in response that Stanford’s Student Party Policy & Guidelines and the Stanford Group Accountability Process (SGAP) rules are the same for all student organizations, and that the University has been working collaboratively with all student organizations, including Greek organizations, to think through and refine party policies to support party success, safety and fun for all attendees. They reminded the student body that they remain “open to feedback.”

For Reiferson, these changes in party policies mark the start of a change in the University’s approach toward community building and student autonomy at Stanford. Because many students depend on Row houses to plan campus-wide events, he said, containing parties and events mean that students lack the opportunity to form authentic, trust-based communities. 

“If you treat people like children, they will behave like children — uninspired and unmotivated,” Reiferson said. “However, if you let students pursue what they want to pursue with autonomy, they will be more motivated to make the right decisions.”  

Login or create an account