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Bryn Mawr College 'Hell Week' Prompts School To Ban Wet Parties

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The Bryn Mawr College administration will not stand for students playing "wiffle beer" and swearing alliance to Radnor Hall "over a keg."

Gawker reports that Bryn Mawr's Dean of Students Office sent a notice to students at Radnor residence hall about a number of alleged "community violations" committed during so-called Hell Week.

Among the violations were "Requiring first-year students to swear alliance to Radnor over a keg," "Shouting at first-year students with and without bullhorn," and "Requiring first-year students to go outside for a 'class photo' but in reality dumping water on them. (Unclear if a photo was really taken.)" (Gawker and its sister site, Jezebel, have the full list.)

According to Rachel Ohrenschall, a columnist for the student newspaper, all first-year students can choose to experience the annual tradition of Hell Week at Bryn Mawr, a women's liberal arts college of about 1,200 students near Philadelphia. Far from the hazing at other institutions that's resulted in student deaths, Bryn Mawr's consists of embarassing stunts, silly outfits, shenanigans like "stealing cats," and, yes, drinking. (There are plenty of videos of Hell Week pranks on YouTube.)

"It is clear from the long list of violations ... that immediate steps must be taken to foster significant culture change in Radnor. The Dean's Office has no confidence this culture change can be brought about by current Radnor residents simply pledging to do better in the future," the notice reads.

Bryn Mawr spokesman Matt Gray told WTXF a number of the alleged incidents "violate the college's standards of behavior."

Radnor's residents were told in the notice from the dean to make a decision by Tuesday as to who may return to the residence hall next year: the current freshmen or the current upperclassmen. The administration has also banned all "wet parties" -- gatherings at which of-age students can drink alcohol -- in Radnor for the remainder of the academic year.

While the administration seems aghast, a number of students have written openly and positively about Hell Week on blogs hosted on the brynmawr.edu domain.

"It's difficult to convey to non-Bryn Mawr folk that this crazy, insane, boisterous week of nonsense isn't as frightening as the name might suggest -- it's both fun (!) and meaningful," wrote Ivy Gray-Klein, a senior.

Kristie Oh, a sophomore at Bryn Mawr, wrote in a blog, "Hell week was so special and significant to me as a freshman last year –- I literally could not wait for it to start this year."

As a result of the administration's outrage, Radnor Hall leaders had to resign, WTXF reports, and "all upperclassman in the dorm have to write a letter of apology to the freshmen."

Gray told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "If we're going to be the butt of jokes because we're taking care of students, I think we're OK with that."

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