Taylor Hall Kissing Booth Cancelled For Quad Day

After concerns over student discomfort, Trish Russell, Interim Cluster Dean of West Quad South (WQS), decided to discontinue Taylor Hall’s annual kissing booth at Quad Day this year. For more than 10 years, Taylor has run the booth at Quad Day, an annual carnival hosted by WQS and West Quad North (WQN) Clusters, in which the dorms of both clusters run a variety of booths to earn money for their dorm funds. Taylor’s booth operated by having students pay to have the boys of the dorm kiss other students, usually friends of the paying students, on the cheek. “I’m new to the cluster—I’ve never even been to Quad Day before. But when I heard that [Taylor Hall] was doing a kissing booth, I wasn’t comfortable with the concept of kids paying for kisses. That was the gut feeling I got,” said Russell. Paul Murphy, Dean of Students, said that he had discussed ending the kissing booth with the two previous Cluster Deans of WQS, Cindy Efinger and Peter Washburn. There have been complaints in past years from students who felt uncomfortable with the booth, according to Murphy. Russell said that previous concerns reinforced her inclination to ban the booth this year. In the past, Taylor residents have held students down to kiss or even lick them, according to Luca Tresham ’13, a proctor in Taylor. Murphy said, “There is a level of intimidation that has to go into a roving group of kids descending on another kid, and for the kid who’s the target, what really are their options? And that’s when you start to get into the hazing, harassing, bullying piece… People [may] say, [students] could have opted out, or they could have left, [but] just from the moments that I saw [at last year’s Quad Day], I didn’t think those kids could socially opt out.” “It’s not really a kissing booth—a kissing booth is where someone goes up and pays money to be kissed, and they’re choosing to do it. With this, the intent is to not be intimidating, but the impact, I think, is,” he continued. Murphy added, “There were no major precipitating factors [for the decision] or anything that went terribly wrong… We are always considering, ‘How much is too much and when does it cross the line?’” Efinger asked the Taylor boys to tone down their behavior last year, according to Tresham. As a result, Taylor residents agreed to not lick or restrain students, according to Connor Light ’13, a proctor in Taylor. There were no formal complaints made to the dorm after last year’s event, according to Shin Jae Lee ’13, Taylor’s dorm representative. Although last year was an improvement, there was still a level of discomfort involved, said Murphy. “This is one of those events that just feels like it’s crossed the line and probably has been there for a while, so it’s not really anything specific that has [led to the decision]. It just seems to be that it’s time [for Taylor] to find another thing,” he said. Editor’s Note Conflicted by my residence in Taylor Hall, I recused myself from participating in the production of this article. However, I did help determine its placement on the front page of this issue. Samuel L. Green Editor in Chief, CXXXV