Palace Policy Sets Safety Priority



Maggie Fried

As of October 18, the Center for Leadership and Student Involvement (CLSI) instituted a new policy with regard to student-sponsored events at the Palace Theater.

“[Attendance at events] will be limited to Colgate University students, and other members of the Colgate community (including alumni and staff) who present valid identification,” the new policy, as publicized in a recent Campus Distributions e-mail, stated. “For student sponsored Palace events, Colgate students will be allowed one non-Colgate guest, so long as the guest has been provided a guest pass at least 48 hours prior to the event.”

The administration developed this policy as a result of several incidents that have taken place at the Palace in recent years.

During homecoming weekend this year, a fight involving non-Colgate students spilled out of the Palace and onto the streets.

Last April, the Colgate community was rocked by a violent brawl that took place at the Palace Theater in Hamilton. A group of SUNY Morrisville students had rented the Palace for an after-party following a fashion show. However, the party disintegrated into fighting and eventually, police from Hamilton and surrounding communities had to be called in to put an end to the violence.

These two incidents, in addition to an incident in which a gun was fired in the Palace in 2003, were the main catalysts for the new policy.

According to Director of CLSI Catherine Regan, the new policy is not intended as punishment towards any group, but as a way to protect Colgate students and prevent violent incidents like those that have occurred in the past.

“There were three incidents over the past couple of years and in light of those incidents that did not involve Colgate students and for the safety of Colgate students, we limited student run events only to Colgate students,” Regan said. “I think based on the previous incidents, knowing it was not Colgate students, this policy helps set up a much better chance that there won’t be [violence]. Just because there are only Colgate students [at the Palace], doesn’t mean it won’t happen.”

Despite the new attendance restrictions, the Palace has seen little to no change in the number of people at events, according to Regan. Furthermore, she predicts that the new policy might actually help the Palace’s business.

“[The Palace] actually might be more attractive to Colgate students because they might be able to get in faster instead of waiting outside in the snow and cold,” Regan said.

The Palace only holds about 250-300 people depending on the event, and with a student body of roughly 2,800 it is guaranteed that not all students could get into the theater. A diminished wait to get inside as well as a safer environment could possibly draw more Colgate students in search of a good time.

“I feel much safer going to the Palace now that I know that I will be surrounded by my friends and fellow Colgate students,” first-year Seghan MacDonald said. “After hearing about all of the violence in the past, I have been kind of apprehensive to go to events at the Palace, but I think now I will feel much more comfortable.”

If any non-Colgate visitor wishes to attend an event at the Palace, he or she must receive a guest pass. To receive a guest pass for the Palace, visit the Center for Leadership & Student Involvement, which is located in the Coop.

Anyone hosting a prospective student or an athletic recruit can obtain a guest pass from Admissions or the Athletic Department. Any exceptions to this new policy must be approved by the Dean of the College.