College increases security and restrictions on guests for Green Key

In response to safety concerns from the town of Hanover, the guest policy for Programming Board’s Green Key concert has been altered, in addition to other safety measures.

by Catherine O'Halloran | 5/20/22 5:30am

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by Aspen Anderson / The Dartmouth

This article is featured in the 2022 Green Key special issue.

Safety measures and restrictions, such as limiting outside guests, enforcing the use of permits and offering emergency services will be in place for Green Key, as the College and town prepare for the big spring weekend

The Programming Board’s Green Key concert will be limited to current Dartmouth students, as well as members of the Classes of 2020 and 2021 — both of whom missed their last Green Key concerts. Director of student involvement David Pack cited other members of the Ivy League as examples of schools who have not allowed guests at their respective spring concerts, such as Brown University’s Spring Weekend and Cornell University’s Slope Day concerts. 

Recognizing the strain on emergency resources in past years, Hanover Police chief Charlie Dennis made a clear distinction between when students should call 911 versus Safety and Security. For any medical or law enforcement emergency, he emphasized the importance of using 911 as opposed to Safety and Security. 

“College policy violations, or there’s a problem with your dorm, or someone needs a ride, that would be more of a [Safety and Security] call,” Dennis said.“But if someone’s fallen and hurt themselves, there’s some sort of suspicious activity or you think someone’s in danger, that’s a 911 call.”

As part of planning Green Key, associate dean of student life Eric Ramsey wrote in a statement to The Dartmouth that the Office of Student Life manages permit approval and coordinates with town officials and Hanover Police and fire departments “to discuss event logistics and security needs.” In turn, the town also provides first responders as necessary, including the fire department, police and EMS. 

Permits

According to Dennis, some residents are concerned about the levels of noise that occur on Friday due to the block party that occurs in the afternoon as well and the other parties at night, as well as during the other concerts that are held on Saturday. 

In the past, Dennis said that he has received noise complaints from both Hanover and Norwich residents. 

“We’re always very careful when we issue our outdoor activity permits to let [residents] know we’re issuing a permit, and if we get calls from residents of noise disturbances, the music may have to be turned down or shut down,” Dennis said. 

According to deputy fire chief Michael Gilbert, the fire department is concerned about overcrowding at fraternities and sororities. 

“We work with them, and they have posted on the wall how many people they can have at their parties,” Hanover fire department chief Martin McMillan said. “We just don’t want them to get too overcrowded because if something happens [attendees] won’t be able to get out.” 

Ramsey wrote that “any College organization planning an event over Green Key, particularly those hosting events outdoors,” are in direct contact with town officials — including Hanover Police and the Hanover fire department.

McMillan also noted if events do get overcrowded, the Hanover fire department will help organizers “thin out the crowd.”

Crowd Control

In an emailed statement, Hanover Police lieutenant Michael Schibuola wrote that the department has been coordinating with College staff and Safety and Security in advance of the weekend. 

Safety and Security director Keysi Montás said that his concerns for the weekend include the presence of outside attendees, as well as crowd control, during the Programming Board concert. .

“Because it’s a large event, it tends to attract outside people, but particularly underage high schoolers from the surrounding area, so that has always been a concern,” Montás said. 

In addition to Safety and Security coverage of multiple events throughout the weekend, officers will be present at the PB concert, ensuring that only those with wristbands are in attendance, according to Montás. 

“[Safety and Security] will cover the block party on Friday, and we will cover the ’53 Commons. We will be supplemented by Green Mountain Security, and they will cover most of the events on Saturday,” Montás said. 

Hanover Police will also have “extra patrols” throughout the week and will be staffing several events on Friday and Saturday, including assisting with road closures at the PB concert on Friday, according to Schibuola. In addition to calling the emergency and non-emergency lines, attendees will be able to send anonymous tips and receive alerts from Hanover Police on its mobile app, Hanover NH Police. 

Emergency Services

McMillan said that in past years, there has been a strain on ambulances during Green Key weekend. During Green Key, the fire department is “still running the usual gamut of emergency calls” from Upper Valley residents. According to McMillan, if ambulances are tied up responding to students, and another individual is waiting for emergent vehicle care, that response time could be delayed significantly.

“If we have a bunch of people [who need emergency response services] at the same time, it just overtaxes our ability to respond. We have to bring in our mutual aid partners, which are typically Hartford and Lebanon, and then we end up with an ambulance shortage for other medical conditions,”  McMillan said. “We always want to have the ability to respond to these [calls] in a timely manner.”

McMillan noted that this strain is often the result of students consuming too many substances.

“Remember, we’re just coming off of COVID,” McMillan said. “Our medical employment situation throughout all ranges of medicine is critical, and the last thing we want to do — especially on a Friday or Saturday night, which is already busy — is inundate the emergency room with people who over-consumed something.” 

Interim Dean of the College Scott Brown wrote in an email to The Dartmouth that the infirmary at Dick’s House will be open for admissions for much of Green Key weekend, from Friday at 6 p.m. until Sunday at 6 a.m. Ordinarily, Dick’s House is open only on weekdays from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Alcohol Safety

Ramsey wrote that he hopes students will take advantage of the various programming the College has put together and utilize campus resources throughout the weekend if needed.

“We know many in our campus community have not experienced Green Key, so we’re hoping we can provide them a fun and safe introduction to a Dartmouth tradition,” Ramsey wrote. “We hope students will become familiar with campus resources like Safety and Security and the ‘Good Sam’ policy and attend the many free food events and hydration stations set up outside of Collis.”

Brown also wrote that the College is also making an effort to support students’ health in preparation for Green Key through a Student Wellness Center initiative that “promotes healthy decision-making leading up to Green Key.” 

According to the Dartmouth IVY Week website, “Intention, Values and You” is a week-long initiative — taking place from May 11-18 — sponsored by the Office of Greek Life, SWC and the Greek Leadership Council to encourage students to think about their alcohol consumption. 

For Brown, an important part of the Dartmouth community is that students look out for one another. 

“Be sure to know your limits and assist others in need,” he added. “When in doubt, call for help.” 

McMillan also commented on alcohol safety for the weekend, advising students avoid pre-opened drinks, to be conscious of what they are drinking and to watch out for their friends.

“Hanover [Police’s] primary goal is for everyone to have a safe and enjoyable time during Green Key,” Schibuola wrote.

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