Created to celebrate the founding of Quinnipiac University, May Weekend was once a symbol of pride for students, staff and faculty alike. A day to look back at where the university once was, and look ahead to where the university was headed. The event also marked the end to a long school year.
Five years ago, however, May Weekend, the celebration held in late April, was banned after concerns over student safety were raised.
“About five years ago we disposed of having May Weekend,” Chief of Public Safety David Barger said. “It had a great deal to do with the behavior of the students and some tragedies that occurred during that time.”
The university’s sponsorship may have ended, but the tradition seems to have lived on, Barger said.
“I think there’s… an urban legend having to do with May Weekend,” Barger said. “Students who don’t even remember May Weekend, like the freshmen who arrived here, don’t even know what that ‘May Weekend’ was.”
Most of what new students know about May Weekend comes from old Youtube videos and word-of-mouth, Barger said.
Public Safety still prepares for the event as if it actually still existed because each year there appears to be a spike in the number of incidents that occur on campus, Barger said. Public Safety doubles the number of Public Safety officers, while also increasing the presence of the Hamden Police Department on campus.
The staff at Public Safety is prepared to check bags that look heavier than normal and car trunks. The officers at Public Safety are planning to be both reactive and proactive during and leading up to the coming weekend, Barger said.
After the events in Boston, staff at Public Safety is more sensitive to heavier looking bags because the school has, “Concerns for security overall, not just for alcohol,” Barger said.
In addition to this, the help of students alerting Public Safety to dangerous or illegal activities will be important to the safety of everyone on campus, Barger said. Last year, numerous students came to his office reporting the possibility of parties occurring that they had seen posted on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
The Hamden Police Department is also preparing for this weekend by enlarging the number of on duty personnel. They also plan on monitoring the sale of alcohol to minors at local alcohol stores and looking for drivers who may be under the influence of alcohol.
More importantly, the Hamden Police Department hopes to keep pedestrian traffic in the streets of Hamden safe.
“There’s real concern on the police department that, you know, we will have a student struck by a car,” Barger said.
After the relatively long winter, Barger expects this weekend to be larger than it would have been if this winter had been less brutal.
“If we had a nice February and March, it wouldn’t have been as big of a deal, but now sort of like spring fever, and if the weathers agreeable, (the weather is projected to be mid-60’s and sunny) students will be out in great numbers,” Barger said.
At the end of the day, Barger and the rest of the staff at Public Safety only have one goal for the coming weekend.
“We don’t always have to be popular in what we do, but the bottom is safety and security of the students,” Barger said.