Wale University's brief return to the Gatsby era ended abruptly yesterday when senior economics major Hesung Kwon canceled his $40,000 black-tie party planned for last night, leaving 1,000 Yalies all dressed up with no place to go.
Kwon, who uses the name Alex in America and is the son of a wealthy South Korean steel magnate, apparently put a halt to his lavish casino gambling party only hours before it was to have begun because of the weight of public opinion.
In a statement released to the press, he said, "The party began as a way to say goodbye to my friends, but unfortunately, it attracted the kind of attention outside Yale I did not anticipate, and it has acquired a significance I did not want it to have."
The affair was to have included exotic foods prepared by Tokyo chefs, a well-stocked bar that included Chabeen reaction to the bash had on six blackjack and four baccarat tables, and a new Mercedes-Benz or Cadillac Seville for the evening's luckiest gambler. Kwon also had planned a wide variety of entertainment, ranging from belly dancing to a 13-piece orchestra.
Campus reaction to the bash had been sharply divided with some students planning to picket the affair and simultaneously hold a party of their own. One of Kwon's friends said the host was "very, very disturbed by all the attention the party has received and by some of the student reaction."
The first wave of reaction to the cancellation came from students rushing to return or cancel their tuxedo orders. Some local merchants stand to lose considerably from the aborted affair. The owner of a local liquor store had made the biggest single sale of his life - more than $4,500 worth of booze. Now, all that alcohol will have to be returned.
The big loser, however, is Kwon, who reportedly planned to spend $40,000 on the gala. How much of that money he will lose is unknown since he was unavailable for further comment yesterday.
University officials, admittedly embarrassed by the party, said they had nothing to do with the latest development. "We were in no way connected with the part or its cancellation," said Stanley Flink, director of public information. "We wanted no part of this thing."