Editorial: University’s revised Spring Weekend policy a step in the right direction
Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 23:01
After UConn student Jafar Karzoun died during Spring Weekend 2010, the university realized that students’ annual tradition of partying on the next-to-last weekend of the spring semester could not continue as usual. The subsequent crackdown brought the campus to a near-standstill during Spring Weekend the past two years, but the administration could hardly be faulted for such a response following an event as tragic and unexpected as the death of a student. Now that enough time has passed and the policies could be viewed in a clearer light, last week the university announced a revised policy which will be implemented for the upcoming Spring Weekend 2013. Good.
For this year’s April 25-27 weekend, student organizations will once again be able to hold events and meetings provided they are approved by the university, which doubtless nearly all will. The campus bus and shuttle system will run again. However, no non-UConn guests will be permitted to participate in any campus events, and they will be restricted from residence and dining halls. Many – indeed, perhaps even most – students would contend that the revisions still remain too stringent. But Karzoun’s death was caused by a sucker-punch to the head by a non-UConn student visiting for the weekend. A complete ban on non-university students for the weekend is likely to cause gripes, but can at least be justified after the events of three years ago.
What could not quite be as justified was the crackdown over the past two years on any event (or other form of fun), even ones that could have been available just for UConn students. Police had routinely noted that historically the vast majority of arrests on Spring Weekend were from non-university students here for the weekend. There was no need to punish university students for something they didn’t do. This year, the administration appears to have received that message, and is changing its policies accordingly.
That’s not to mention the memory factor: of the four undergraduate grade levels, only this year’s seniors were students three years ago when the last “true” Spring Weekend took place. For all current juniors, sophomores and freshmen, the barely-constrained wildness that the Weekend used to be is but a distant tale of UConn lore. With a revived but regulated weekend back once more, perhaps this could once again become a proud annual UConn tradition rather than a black eye and a stain on the university’s reputation around the state. Only time will tell, and we will find out in April.