Wednesday, June 19

Finals week: Midnight Yell Approaches


Monday, March 10, 1997

Students relieve stress, bond in traditional yell; opponents
police dorms, complain about disruptionBy Toni Dimayuga

Daily Bruin Contributor

cross campus, the arduous task of studying ten weeks’ worth of
material finally takes its toll. Culminating in a unison of cries,
Bruins relieve their stress in the form of a primal scream,
permeating throughout Westwood.

Midnight Yell is a 15-year-old tradition at UCLA, said Rick
Murray, resident director (RD) of Rieber Hall. Every night of
finals week at the stroke of midnight, students take a break from
their studies and indulge in a scream session, lasting for several
minutes.

In the past, rules against Midnight Yell were not strictly
enforced up until seven or eight years ago, when Bel-Air residents
complained about the noise.

A myth regarding Midnight Yell can be found on the Internet,
alleging the activity was banned on the UCLA campus when a woman
was raped several years ago during a session and no one heard her
screams. Murray stressed that this story is completely false.

Resident assistants (RAs) patrol the dormitories to make sure no
one engages in the late-night activity. They man the hallways or
stand outside the buildings, armed with flashlights to shine on
windows as they watch for screaming students.

If a student is found participating in Midnight Yell in the
dormitories, he or she must perform 15 to 30 hours of community
service, which some believe is too harsh.

"(The screamers) are not intentionally trying to bug people, and
it doesn’t happen each night ­ it happens during finals week.
I think they need to relax on the rules and understand that the
kids just need to release some tension and anger," said Teresa
Jones, a second-year international economics student living in
Sproul Hall.

"I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal that people do it,
like why they’re so against people doing it and making people do
community service hours and stuff," said John Fernandez, a
first-year undeclared student living in Dykstra Hall.

Murray does not share students’ opinion that Midnight Yell
relieves stress ­ he believes it is simply for fun.

Some students however, such as Jeremy Jacobs, a first-year
electrical engineering student from Sproul Hall, admits that the
yelling can be distracting to some people.

"I think it’s a great stress relief, but for people who are
trying to sleep or study it can be annoying," he said.

Ever since the rules against Midnight Yell have been enforced,
the number of participating students and the duration of the
screaming have decreased, Murray said, who recalls Midnight Yell
lasting almost an hour when he was an undergraduate. However,
Murray reports the yelling is still prevalent in the high rise
residence halls.

Rick Wan, RD of Hitch Suites, explained it may be due to the
buildings’ structure and the greater amount of students who live in
them. In addition, RAs can monitor low rises such as Sunset Village
and the residential suites with more ease.

Wan reported that last quarter only two Hitch inhabitants were
written up as opposed to the 24 Rieber residents cited for
yelling.

Dykstra Hall is rumored to be one of the noisiest buildings,
facing toward Westwood. Armen Babajanian, a third-year political
science student, recalled a friendly rivalry during Midnight Yell
between his fellow Dykstra floor members and students at the
University Cooperative Housing Association (Co-op).

"I lived on the eighth floor and so we screamed messages to
people living at the Co-op. They’re free to do anything so they
just screamed back, like they would say, ‘Go beep yourself,
Dykstra!’ … or ‘eighth floor sucks!’ We’d just scream messages
back and forth ­ quite entertaining," he said.

Now that Babajanian lives off-campus, he has taken full
advantage of his situation and participated in Midnight Yell last
quarter.

"I’m proud to say I have. It was quite amusing," he chuckled.
"Because it’s so quiet on Hilgard, it was just people from my
house. We just got out and just yelled.

"My friend brought out his saxophone and he played the sax …
just some UCLA chants and anti-USC chants. (It was) just a little
conglomeration of UCLA students getting together for five minutes
and showing how they can relate to each other."

Last quarter included a group of freshman screamers new to the
tradition. Fernandez said that when he visited friends in Sproul
Hall, they decided to participate in the forbidden festivities.

"They heard it the first night, and they didn’t know what it
was. They found out the next day because the RA was going around
telling everyone not to do it. They were just up late studying and
they heard everyone else doing it so they just jumped in," he said.
"It was pretty loud ­ I was there that night. Just about
everybody screamed that night."

Despite what residence officials say, many students feel the
tradition provides positive effects.

"It doesn’t really bother me. I don’t take the time to yell,
because I’m usually busy. It’s a means of releasing stress and I
think finals week at UCLA is definitely something that people need
to release stress about," Jones explained.

"Most people are up anyway studying, and most people can sleep
through it," Morris said.

But for Babajanian, Midnight Yell is more than just a stress
releaser ­ it’s a way to bond with fellow students.

"You get together with some people and kind of share the
experience," he said.

Photo illustration by PATRICK LAM/Daily Bruin

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