Pep Rally Skits Now Subject To Review

Paul Murphy, Dean of Students and Residential Life, has decided not to cancel team skits at the fall and winter pep rallies after meeting with select students last week, but the skits this year will be subject to prior review. Murphy, Blue Key Heads, and Cindy Efinger, Director of Student Activities, will review the team skits before they are performed to ensure that the skits are appropriate. Murphy had originally decided to restructure the pep rally so that it would exclude all team skits to avoid any lewd or offensive material. He organized a meeting last Wednesday with Blue Key Heads and the Athletic Advisory Board, composed of varsity team captains, to announce his original decision. After hearing objections from the Blue Key Heads and the team captains, however, Murphy realized how much the students wanted to keep the team skits in pep rally. Murphy decided to preserve the team skits and sent an email to the Blue Key Heads and team captains notifying them of this final decision. “The Blue Key Heads and the Athletic Advisory Board made a compelling argument that, as members of the class of 2010, they did a good job with the opening All-School Meeting, and they should be given the chance to do the same thing with the pep rally,” said Murphy. Riley Gardner ’10, Blue Key Head for Flagstaff, believes that the Senior class will be able to conduct the pep rally so that it will be both entertaining and appropriate. “I’m really excited that the administration is allowing us to continue on with the tradition of skits and pep rallies. [The administration is] giving us an opportunity to prove our maturity and responsibility as a Senior class,” she said. Gardner said that she believed strong communication between the administration and the Blue Key Heads allowed for compromise. “The communication between administration and students was really good. I think both sides presented their opinions well and we dealt with each other respectfully. This establishes a good precedent for future conversations,” said Gardner. After Murphy listened to the proposed restrictions on the skits, he felt more comfortable in allowing the skits to continue. The Blue Key Heads, along with Efinger and Murphy, will be checking the skits to make sure that they fall within Murphy’s draft of guidelines for the pep rally skits. Murphy said that skits in recent years have been inappropriately sexual, and this behavior was the driving force behind his original idea to remove the skits altogether from the pep rally. “The skits that people have the most [problems] with are the overly sexual skits. If we can agree that [the sexual skits] are out, there is still a wide range of choices for the pep rally. [The teams] will just have to be more creative to have a good skit,” said Murphy. Murphy also attributed many problems with past skits to the lack of preparation for the pep rally. Under the new guidelines, the Blue Key Heads, Murphy and Efinger will alo be checking skits for their level of preparation. “I’m trying to figure out how to put [the new] set of guidelines to use year after year. I’m drafting a document that I will show to the Blue Key Heads. I want to get their initial reactions to it, although it’s pretty done as far as I’m concerned,” said Murphy. “I want to make sure [the guidelines are] clear and I want to answer [the Blue Key Heads’] questions before the document is totally ready,” continued Murphy. Brian Safstrom ’10, Blue Key Head for Pine Knoll, said, “The compromises are really fair, and [Murphy] set guidelines that should clear all the trouble up. It’s awesome that we can still do the skits.” Murphy trusts that the teams will follow the new guidelines. “As long as both the pep rallies are great I’m going to be really happy. I’ll be a little nervous at both of [the pep rallies] but I have faith that it’s going to go fine,” Murphy said. Sara Alban ’10, Blue Key Head for West Quad North, believes that this years pep rally will be better than ever. “I am very pleased with the outcome and think the pep rally will end up essentially the same, sans faculty worry. The upcoming pep rally will be one of the best in a long time,” she said. Murphy said, “For the most part the vast majority of skits have been fine. It’s one or two in a year out of two pep rallies that go bad.” Murphy said he only told Blue Key Heads and team captains about his decision because “it’s their event,” but he did not officially notify any students other than the Blue Key Heads and the Athletic Advisory Board. According to Murphy, the Blue Key Heads and team captains proposed that if a team does a skit that does not meet the new guidelines or appears unrehearsed, the Blue Key Heads have the power to intervene. Before Murphy made the decision not to cancel the skits, Murphy consulted with a group of deans and the Community Health Team last Friday. The Community Health Team is a committee that meets on Fridays to talk about the state of the Phillips Academy community. Murphy also emailed the Athletic Council, a group of coaching faculty members, to receive their input.