Grinding and students “who are not adequately clothed” are now explicitly banned from school dances, according to an e-mail from Paul Murphy, Dean of Students, this morning.
Excerpts from the e-mail read:
> _sexually suggestive dancing, including but not limited to grinding is not allowed. Students who dance this way should expect to be asked to leave the dance and have a follow up conversation with the cluster dean, house counselor or advisor._>
“This has been an open question for years, and some of us felt that we should just at least take a stab at saying something, and not just hoping nothing bad happens and that people are comfortable,” said Murphy in an interview earlier this afternoon.
The behavior guidelines stated in the e-mail are not, in fact, new, Murphy explained. Chaperones in the past have turned away kids dressed inappropriately to dances, though the rule was not widely enforced or explicitly stated until this morning.
“We’ve sent kids back to their dorms to put more clothes on, occasionally, and it tends to be girls and it tends to be female chaperones…We’ve just said, go back and wear shoes, or put on a shirt, and people tend to do that, and they follow the directions and go back.” Murphy said.
“Some people have said, ‘Does the school have the right to tell us how to dance?’ Well yes, we do, it’s a private institution, we tell you guys to do a lot of things and you do it,” Murphy said.
“[The policy of turning inadequately-clothed students away] is not about shaming people as they come to the dance so they have to leave, it’s so that they make a better decision before they even come in the first place,” he continued.
As all school events are chaperoned by faculty members, Murphy said the decision also considered chaperones’ comfort levels with inappropriate dancing.
“Some people will say, ‘I’ll chaperone a movie, I’ll chaperone a trip to the Loop, but I will not chaperone a dance, I don’t want to be put into that position,'” said Murphy.
Murphy, Chris Capano, Director of Student Activities, and other Deans will supervise tonight’s dance, the Latin Arts Dance, due to the campus controversy around the restrictions.
The decision was made “given conversations that the cluster deans and others have had with students and faculty chaperones,” read the e-mail, which was signed by the Cluster Deans and the Community Health Team.
The e-mail has already generated considerable student response on social media. Clark Perkins ’14 and Junius Williams ’14, School Co-Presidents, posted from their presidential Facebook page, vowing to “do our utmost to fight this decision.”
> _We are appalled by the administration’s absurd attempt to restrict our rights to dress and dance as we choose. It is insulting to our intellect and individuality that the school has rendered such a baseless, puritanical decision. Moreover, we are ashamed that no student leaders were consulted on the matter._> _Are we so incapable of properly representing ourselves as individuals and as a community that the administration feels the need to restrict our actions? Are we, the student body one of the greatest prep schools in the world, so immature that we cannot handles the responsibilities of attending a basic social event, the type that many of us have attended since middle school?_> “According to Paul Murphy’s email, our school policy is that two consenting individuals grinding at a dance are automatically guilty of not respecting themselves. If we want to call ourselves a progressive school, we need to drop this puritanical, slut-shaming bullshit,” wrote Amo Manuel ’14 as his Facebook status. “Dear Andover, People feeling pressured into sexual activity/presentation at dances is a problem. However, the answer is not slutshaming. The way you dress and the way you dance do not correlate to your self respect,” posted Abigail Burman ’12 on Facebook.
**Isabel Jaregui ’17:**”As long as it’s not making other people really uncomfortable, as long as both parties are willing to take part in the activity, I think it’s fine…I think that’s good, that they should be sent back. We are in a school environment, and I think that people should respect that.”
**Armaan Singh ’14:**”I think he’s doing it with the intention of having kids demonstrate more respect towards themselves and their bodies if they don’t grind…I never thought of grinding really as a problem on campus, it definitely didn’t happen more than it did happen, so I don’t think it was necessary to highlight it and make such a big deal out of a very normal American activity.”
**Paulina Munn ’15: “** I understand that the school cannot support grinding, I just think that they shouldn’t go to this extent to stop it. They could encourage us not to do it, but people can basically make that decision for themselves, if they want to or don’t want to do that. I agree with it a little bit, I think that there were some outfits that were too revealing, and with really really youngly. I get that people want to dress nicely and provocatively, but I think that sometimes it’s a little bit past taste.”
**Jaleel Williams ’15** : “Especially because that’s what a lot of Andover’s hook up and dance culture has formed around, instead of trying to solve the problems that have formed from it, which is the way students treat sexuality instead of sexuality itself…As someone who does dress in that traditionally female “promiscuous” way, I’m curious to see if I would be affected by this, whether the administration would look the other way because, even though my shorts are just as short as hers, or probably shorter, they are not as likely to see me in that sexual light because it’s not associated with my gender role.”
**Megan Gatton ’17:**”I think it’s respect for the comfortability level of those around you, and yes, people may be judging you based on your appearance, which I think is just something you have to accept in our culture today, but I think it’s the right place and the right time, being in an environment that’s not necessarily appropriate. “
**Emma Khan’14: “** I think it gives the impression that the administration thinks that we’re “bad kids,” and even if that wasn’t what they meant. It’s like their saying that we don’t can’t make the right decisions for that kind of stuff, and we can do that, we go to boarding school.”
**Kai Kornegay ’14:**”I think it’s important to note that a lot of what is considered “provocative” dancing is rooted in Afro and Carribean and Latino culture, and to say that “that’s not okay,” is erasing a lot of culture that students on campus have…And I think this is yet another decision this year that has been made to affect the students that has been done without our consultation.”
**Kory Stuer ’15:”** I think less people will go because they want to hook up, and if they can’t hook up, if they can’t leave from a dance to hook up, they’ll just hook up anyways. If less people go, it’ll hurt a lot of clubs, because clubs do fundraisers, like Latin Arts Weekend or Black Arts Weekend, they do dances and admission to raise money for their clubs.”
> — Leah Tamar (@leahshres) [October 5, 2013](https://twitter.com/leahshres/statuses/386501723428093952)> Next up: girl wearing feminist Tshirt kicked out of a dance for showing too much arm — charlie (@charliej33) [October 5, 2013](https://twitter.com/charliej33/statuses/386508104319651841)> And on the fourth weekend pmurph said: No Touching.
> — Leah Tamar (@leahshres) [October 5, 2013](https://twitter.com/leahshres/statuses/386503102016147458)> We now live in a weird fusion of “footloose” and “dirty dancing” [#pmurph](https://twitter.com/search?q=%23pmurph&src=hash) — Melly Belly (@MelBel823) [October 5, 2013](https://twitter.com/MelBel823/statuses/386506177523494912)> Lol goodbye gelb
> — Mihika (@Mihikzz) [October 5, 2013](https://twitter.com/Mihikzz/statuses/386504271719841792)> >