May Weekend ’06 Coverage: President Lahey is ‘killing’ the tradition of May Weekend

Adam Murphy

President Lahey and Quinnipiac administration have decided to kill the May Weekend tradition. May Weekend, the second weekends before finals, is when the Student Programming Board puts on a great weekend of festivities and events for students to enjoy. In addition to these events, this use to be a weekend where students would drink freely inside and outside the residence halls. In past years, Residential Life looked the other way and did not strictly enforce all their drinking policies for this weekend.

But that’s all about to change. They have decided that all Residential Life Policies will be strictly enforced on May Weekend. This was a weekend all undergraduates looked forward to relax and have fun with their friends one last weekend before finals begin and students start leaving to go home for the summer. However, it will not be the same this year.

I strongly oppose this change for several reasons. First, from a Residential Life standpoint, the school administration is subjecting the Resident Assistants to potentially very dangerous situations. I think students will not respect the RAs and that they will have a hard time enforcing policies. I think if an RA were confronting a group of students who were drinking; they may feel very uncomfortable and feel threatened by the group because of the culture change that this changes present.

From the RAs I’ve talked to about this issue, they are very concerned for their safety on May Weekend. Even if every single RA is on duty every night, there’s one RA for every 72 undergrads. This represents the RAs being outnumbered significantly and it will present a large problem when you put the RAs on the front lines to control the crowds and enforce the drinking. In addition, I think the administration has chosen the wrong approach to pursue the outcome they want to achieve. In the February 1, 2006 Chronicle, David Hutter wrote about the initiative President Lahey signed to reduce underage drinking and the use of illegal substances. With the initiative being in place, I think the administration’s decision on May Weekend will be making the situation worse. I think students are going to rebel and want to drink more because they know that they aren’t supposed to. This decision to enforce all policies is going to cause greater problems for the university and backfire on them. The university should have taken a difference stance on this issue. They should be promoting drinking responsibly, whereas not allowing students to drink is the wrong approach because students are going to drink.

This can be compared to what’s being taught across America to students about sex. Educators and professionals are promoting safe sex, not abstinence. They realize that no matter what you say, students are going to have sex. They then will be more effective teaching about safe sex because they will be learning more from that than from someone telling them not to have sex. The same should carry over for drinking. Students are going to drink no matter what you say or do. This is the exact reason why saying no drinking allowed is stupid.

From a safety standpoint, there will be uproar on campus because of this change. Students are going to be very upset with administration for this decision and I believe that will be reflected in the behavior of the students during May Weekend. Security, Residential Life Staff, and RAs are all going to have to take the brunt of this decision, a decision in which they didn’t even make.

As cited in many articles in past Chronicles’, including my own, security is doing a mediocre job at best at handling the needs of students on this campus. The security staff is going to be so overwhelmed on May Weekend that they won’t know what to do with themselves. So the university will hire more outside security, which we all know or can sense don’t give a crap about the university when we drive through a gate that they “guard.” Even if they bring on 40 more security officers in addition to the current staff, it will be too much to handle.

Personally, I don’t want to promote drinking. I’m 21 and consider myself to be a responsible drinker, on the few occasions that I do drink. That’s what it’s all about, being responsible! This would have the first year I would be allowed into the beer tent, and I’m kind of upset that I won’t be able to do this on May Weekend. And its not the fact that I wanted to get trashed on the Quad. Rather, I wanted to be able to partake in this tradition that many before us have been able to take part in. I urge you to reconsider your decision, and I implore you to teach responsibility and not ignore the fact that students are going to drink no matter what policy you have in place.