Baruch ‘Bash’ cancelled after legal issues

Baruch College’s Undergraduate Student Government announced on May 20 that Baruch “Bash”  has been cancelled due to “complications with insurance, legal and many other aspects above us.”

USG, who hosts this annual end-of-year party, publicly apologized for this on its Facebook page, as “Bash” is a Baruch tradition that has been in place for 50 years, and many students look forward to the event every year.  

In terms of legal issues, Executive Vice President Emma Jorgensen, who was in charge of planning this year’s “Bash,” explained that “‘Bash’ has always been an issue due to the underage drinking that happens before the event. This puts it on the radar every year due to the liability issues.”

Last semester, CUNY Legal Affairs decided to make “Bash” a 21+ event because in previous years, underage students who “pre-gamed” or drank beforehand, would show up at the venue where “Bash” was held. Some of these students had to later be taken out in ambulances.

The event was originally meant to be for graduating seniors 21 years and older only, but USG opened it up to all Baruch students a couple of years ago to be more welcoming of everyone. However, because of how many ambulances had to come to “Bash” every single year within just the first couple of hours, it became an issue at CUNY Legal. The office felt that there was a need to intervene, as CUNY Legal is liable for the safety of students.

“I went to ‘Bash’ as a both a freshman and a sophomore and when I heard it was going to be 21+, I was a little upset because, for obvious reasons, I won’t be able to attend this year,” Baruch junior Sumiaya Hassan said. “With ‘Bash’ being canceled all together, it sucks even more for the graduating seniors who will miss out on this during their last year at Baruch.”

One Baruch alumnus, Abraham Albarracin, commented on The Ticker’s Facebook page, saying, “There should really be an investigation on this. Many students look forward to this event. I will say I am not surprised, the amount of incidents that happen at bash makes it difficult to throw these events IE Students over consuming beverages and getting intoxicated to the point they need an ambulance (sic).”

“An official statement should be issued with the reasons to why this happened and what will be done with the money not used for the event,” another student, Fernando Sánchez Carriel commented.

Jorgensen replied to Carriel in regard to the funding used for “Bash” that “it goes back into the surplus. if you want anything official about Bash you can ask OSL! This was the information we were given.”

In a statement to The Ticker, Director of Student Life Damali Smith explained that the money “will be rolled over to the surplus and available for use by future USGs.” She also confirmed that the event “was not canceled due to it being 21 and above. There were issues with the venue that USG chose that could not be resolved.”

Jorgensen, who started planning “Bash” back in October, explained her process in going about it “was to start with the venue and then work out the details once the venue is secured.”

“I hoped to get it all done from December-April,” she said. “With rules set in place by OSL and CUNY Legal, it was a longer process than before and it was handled above us. The experience would have been more enjoyable had I understood the rules earlier on. I thought ‘Bash’ was just like any other USG event, but it had more legal implications that I was not aware of.”

“I personally think ‘Bash’ should be something OSL plans in the future,” Jorgensen added. “USG can help with some aspects and can do the paperwork but in the end, the conversations about ‘Bash’ were between OSL and CUNY Legal. I would have wanted to be present in those conversations, but I understand that I, as a student, was not allowed.”

Although the fate of “Bash” was ultimately not in the hands of USG, former Rep. Sen. Brandon Paillere reposted The Ticker’s breaking announcement of “Bash” being canceled and captioned it, “USG is and has always been a useless organization.”

Paillere did not respond when The Ticker reached out asking for a statement.

USG President Radhika Kalani expressed her thoughts on the comment, saying it “was upsetting, but also surprising. He was on USG last year as the chair of Arts so it’s surprising to see he feels as if him, as being USG once, doesn’t do enough. I understand there is a lot behind why ‘Bash’ can’t happen. I just wish he had reached out to me and asked why.”

“People need to ask questions instead of blaming,” Kalani continued. “Being in USG this year made me realize that. A lot of things don’t go as planned but instead of being angry about it and pointing fingers, you should find out why.”

It was not something that could have been foreseen, as Jorgensen put it, “but it was taking so long that I assumed it was not going to work out.”

As for those students to whom this announcement comes as a disappointment — especially the graduating seniors who looked forward to this event — Kalani said she just hopes they can be understanding, as USG “didn’t have much time to plan something else” to make up for the lack of “Bash.”