In response to last year’s chaos, Ring Dance policies have changed again this year, and junior women are allowed to have up to two escorts during the procession.
Last year, Ring Dance was a point of contention between the administration and the student body after two new policies were established: junior women would wear black dresses instead of white, and the women would walk down the stairs alone for the procession.
Though the no-escort rule was made known prior to the event, some women broke the rule and walked with their fathers. The procession stopped for about 10 minutes, and after, the women were allowed to walk with escorts.
“The most controversial difference would be the fact that we are allowing people to have accompaniment down the staircase again,” said Mia Hagerty, the president of Westhampton College Class of 2017. "The policy has simply reverted back to what it always was, which was that you could walk with up to two people down the stairs."
To notify the student body of this change, WCGA released a video Nov. 16 on YouTube entitled, “How Will You Ring Dance?” that showed past and future Westhampton College women who have already participated or will be participating in Ring Dance.
“This year my cabinet and I came up with the idea to create a Ring Dance video to highlight some seniors that walked last year with different non-traditional escorts," Hagerty said. "We also highlighted juniors that are planning to walk with non-traditional escorts this year in order to make the event as inclusive as possible."
Hagerty was one of the people tasked with organizing Ring Dance. She worked closely with the Westhampton College office to create a successful event for this year.
Kerry Fankhauser, Westhampton College interim dean, and Olivia Karahan, the current president of Westhampton College, did not return requests for comment on the new policies this year.
"This year, my cabinet and I looked for ways to make the night more interactive and personal to our class,” Hagerty said. “There will be a photo booth, a paper chain that juniors can add their names to while they wait to process down the stairs, and our Proclamation Night photo from our freshman year will be on display."
The student body still has a lot to say about Ring Dance, even with this year’s changes.
Junior Lexie Brown will be participating in Ring Dance this year. She attended the celebration last year after the procession ended.
“I’m excited to get dressed up and walk down the stairs with my dad,” Brown said.
Junior Martha Whamond will also be participating in Ring Dance this year. Her mom and dad will be escorting her down the stairs.
“I’m really excited that my family is coming and that I get to celebrate with them, and they can meet my friends,” Whamond said.
Even Richmond College students on campus have something to say about this event. Junior Andrew Winter will be attending the event for the first time this year as a participant’s date.
“I think it is a great tradition and a cool way to celebrate the accomplishments of women on Richmond’s campus,” Winter said.
Ring Dance will take place Saturday, Feb. 6 at The Jefferson Hotel.
Contact reporters Megan Healy at firstname.lastname@example.org and Charlotte Dowell at email@example.com.