January 13, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 56  

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Underaged students won’t get Charity for annual Ball

By Dan Perry
Gazette Staff

For the first time in its history, Western’s annual Charity Ball will deny access to students under the age of 19.

Mark Wellington, manager of retail sales and marketing for the University Students’ Council, explained the relationship between Charity Ball and the London Convention Centre, where the event has been held in recent years.

“Every year we’ve had to request the LCC waive their policy that any alcohol event must only admit people of legal drinking age,” he said. “They’ve waived it in the past — grudgingly — as we would have fairly good security provisions in place and handle the Wet/Dry cards.”

“This is the first year it’s been [an] over 19 [event],” confirmed Kathy Robineau, the USC’s Charity Ball commissioner, citing the suspension of the Wet/Dry program as the biggest factor in the change.

When asked if numbers would decrease due to the change, Robineau was doubtful. “I don’t think it’s going to [decrease the turnout] — there have been few Wet/Dry cards used in the past and it’s usually been an upper-year event.”

Second-year psychology student Victoria Carter agreed, saying it was not a big deal that the minimum age had changed. “I don’t think it matters — [students in first-year now] have got four years here,” she said, adding she thought if students could not go this time they can go another year. “To make it a dry event wouldn’t make it fair to the majority.”

Wellington provided more precise statistics in explaining the exclusion of minors. “Two years ago, we had five people, out of 2,350 [in attendance] use Wet/Dry cards — last year, only two came to the Charity Ball who were underage.

“For me, it’s hard to justify to the LCC why they should waive their policy; given the circumstances, it was a straight-forward understanding we would not go that route,” he added.

Abdah Ali, an 18 year-old first-year science student, said the new rules around the event would not change the turnout. “More [underage students] went out and got fake IDs since Wet/Dry [ended]; at least with Wet/Dry you could still go out.”

“They should make a way that everyone can get in — they’re going to get in anyway. We know everyone that’s 18 has fake ID,” noted 19 year-old Shahzma Haji, also a first-year science student.

Robineau had little information to offer on ticket sales, as students often wait until the last minute to purchase tickets. “Sales are definitely going to be picking up,” she added.

Ticket sales for this year’s Ball, themed “The Enchanted Forest: Where Fairy Tales Come True,” were launched this week and are available at InfoSource or the USC Front in the University Community Centre.



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