By Lacey Jacoby /// Photography Editor
After a series of hearings and appeals, the Rusty Nail has returned to Tamarack following its closure in mid-February. Though the Rusty Nail will not be open to students for the rest of the academic year, student coordinators plan to clean and prepare the space in time for Critical Blast in May.
The Rusty Nail’s closure in February was the result of a series of events that began earlier in the academic year. After Campus Safety broke up a DIY Bazaar event in December, the Rusty Nail coordinators were subject to a disciplinary hearing at the end of January. As a result of this hearing, the coordinators were required to provide a week’s notice before events and to write an alcohol policy. In addition, the Peer Review Authority placed the Rusty Nail on probation, stipulating that if another violation occurred, the Rusty Nail would be shut down, have its funds frozen, and all evening events canceled.
At the beginning of February, the Rusty Nail’s coordinators appealed this probation. Due to the snowstorm, the administration received the appeal later than anticipated, and the Rusty Nail threw another party during that unexpected delay. The appeal was denied, and the “Snowpocalypse” party resulted in another violation, thus breaking probation. At the end of February, the Rusty Nail had an administrative hearing for the second violation, which resulted in the loss of Tamarack, 18 months unconditional probation and the requirement to write a Community Education Plan detailing the goals and purpose of the Rusty Nail.
Within the next week, the Rusty Nail’s coordinators appealed the loss of Tamarack to Anna Gonzalez, Dean of Students.
“[Dean Gonzalez] wanted to give us another chance,” said Mia Freiberg (’16), Rusty Nail student coordinator.
Some have asked Dean Gonzalez if she granted the Rusty Nail’s request because of student letters that they included with their appeal. However, since these letters were not a part of the judicial process, Dean Gonzalez did not read them. Instead, Gonzalez claimed she was inspired by other student-run spaces on campus. The week before, she attended an art show in the Platteau, where she noted the diverse group of students and the positive use of a student-run space.
“[I] was really looking at the potential for how [the Rusty Nail] could succeed,” said Dean Gonzalez.
After various delays, the Co-op received an email on April 11 with the outcome of their appeal. Under the new conditions, Gonzalez and other administrators officially returned Tamarack to the Rusty Nail—with the added stipulation that they must reapply for the space at the end of every year, beginning at the end of the 2014-15 academic year. A few of the original penalties remained: the Rusty Nail will remain on unconditional probation for 18 months, the coordinators must notify multiple individuals before any event in the Rusty Nail and write a Community Education Plan.
The Co-op’s coordinators swipe cards began working on April 22, and they entered for the first time the next day.
“Basically we just want to get in and clean and then have Critical Blast in there, which is our big end of the year festival,” Freiberg said.
The Rusty Nail will be closed to students for the rest of the year, with the exception of the its 10th annual Critical Blast, which will occur on May 1. Freiberg said, “We’re kind of hoping it’s going to be our grand re-opening and a way to really get all the students together and remind them what we’re about.”
The Rusty Nail still faces numerous obstacles moving forward. After next year, they must compete annually with other student groups for the use of Tamarack. Also, the Rusty Nail currently faces a debt of around $2,000, according to Freiberg. The coordinators don’t believe this debt will affect them in the short term and hope it will be forgiven since it was incurred by previous coordinators. Finally, due to some coordinators graduating and others studying abroad, a much different group of coordinators will have to take on these issues next year.
Freiberg, another student coordinator Lauren Scott (’16) and Dean Gonzalez also stressed that the Rusty Nail needs community support in order to have success. Mia said, “Anya [Ludwig, another student coordinator] has made the analogy that it should be the living room for people living on campus… I think that people forget it’s there for that purpose, and in that regard, people forget that it’s a place to treat very respectfully.”
As Dean Gonzalez said, “I think their heart is in the right place, so I really hope they succeed.”
Lacey Jacoby is the photography editor of the Pioneer Log. Her work has also appeared in The Portland Observer and in LC’s Public Affairs and Communication’s’ digital image library. She enjoys writing about and photographing the daily lives of seemingly ordinary people, as well as the issues that affect them.