Costume Ball shelved after conflicts

By Dan Lambert

UChicago HYPE, a student group that organizes on- and off-campus events aimed at improving student life, has announced its decision to postpone the Lascivious Costume Ball from its scheduled May 26th date until winter quarter of next year. Organizers cited scheduling conflicts with the Progressive Gala and space limitations at Ida Noyes Hall as the reasons for the delay.

The Ball began in 1970 as a risqu_ costume party that offered reduced price admission to attendees donning revealing costumes. University administrators discontinued the event in 1984 after it began drawing non-University guests, lewd behavior, and serious drug use.

HYPE hopes to recapture the atmosphere of the Lascivious Costume Ball at its height, in its earlier and less illicit incarnations. Next year’s HYPE chair, second-year Adam Radwan, described the Ball as an opportunity to incorporate a wide range of RSOs in one event, with the hope that it will serve as a mixing ground for graduate and undergraduate students from all over the campus. While the administration initially expressed some trepidation due to the Ball’s past history, HYPE members said they garnered administrative support after laying out their specific vision for the event.

Since its inception two years ago, HYPE has been criticized for its high budgets and allegedly excessive funding from Student Government (SG), measuring thousands of dollars per event. In January, HYPE was denied the $7,400 in funding it requested for its April 12 yacht party. HYPE instead relied upon annual allocations, the Graduate Council, and ticket revenues. HYPE leaders said they now recognize the limits of SG funding and expressed gratitude for the guidance SG offered throughout the group’s first two years. Current HYPE chair and fourth-year Paula Mejia said the group “understands that our events are expensive…and we are aware of the limitations of Student Government and try as best we can to find funding sources from other areas outside of SG.”

Mejia said much of the criticism spurs from a misconception about HYPE’s stated goals. Mejia described HYPE events as offering “a different feel for what student life can be,” where students can mingle in a non-University setting while experiencing locations outside of campus. Responding to a Maroon editorial (“Don’t Believe the HYPE,” 2/27/07), Mejia expressed discomfort in others judging what the U of C and the life of the mind should be, arguing that academic pursuits and social experiences are not mutually exclusive. She reiterated HYPE’s primary goal as allowing segments of the student population to interact with each other and establish a sense of camaraderie. HYPE’s recent yacht cruise was sold out, and Radwan and Mejia described a growing interest in next year’s Lascivious Costume Ball.