Op-ed: Safety on Spring Weekend

For many on the campus of Franklin Pierce, Spring Weekend is something to look forward to each year.

Known as the last true “party” weekend of the semester before 24 hour quiet hours are in place for Finals Week, Spring Weekend is an all-day-into-all-night party featuring crazy outfits, sunburns galore and gallons of alcohol.

(Photo: Google)

For the day, which falls on the last Saturday of April, Rindge PD increases their presence on campus, doing everything in their power to ensure that underage students are unable to gain access to Lakeview, where the majority of the partying happens.

However, that is not to say that these underage students don’t still find their way down to the townhouses. Res Life, Rindge PD and Campus Safety all acknowledge that these students can slip through, which leads to them choosing to educate students on the dangers of binge drinking.

Franklin Pierce is far from the only campus in America that celebrates Spring Weekend. Visitors to UConn in Storrs, CT around this time of year will find thousands of students engaging in similar activities, and UMass Amherst has historically been home to Blarney Blowout, which occurs during the week of Saint Patricks Day.

UConn and UMass are both much larger campuses than Franklin Pierce, and therefore must take more precautions. Both schools either limit or completely ban visitors who are not registered students at the university. Franklin Pierce does not have a policy on guests, other than that they must be registered with Campus Safety upon arrival.

In an interview with The Daily Press,  Shelia Morgansmith, the Associate Director of Residence Education at UConn, said, “Some concerns may be that folks that are not connected to the university may not feel connected to follow our protocols or respect the campus or respect other people here, whereas UConn students have extra responsibility, because you go here, to be respectful during Spring Weekend.”

This is also a concern at Franklin Pierce, especially following an incident where two swastikas were found graffitied on campus the day after Spring Weekend. It is still unknown if this incident was the actions of a Franklin Pierce student or guest.

Down the road at UMass Amherst, Blarney Blowout has seen a decrease in arrests and altercations over the last couple of years. Just three years ago, Blarney saw one of its darkest years as police used pepper spray on students, property was damaged around campus and dozens of students were arrested. Since then, the school reports increased police presence and major rule changes for the event. The 2017 edition of Blarney resulted in just one arrest, proving to school officials that their students took the 2014 events seriously.

With the multiple transports that occurred this year on both the night before Spring Weekend and the day of, comes the question of what can Franklin Pierce do to keep their students safe? Sure, the Block Party is a great event put on by the school that offers free food, free water, and free activities, but what else do they need to do?

While I do not believe having stricter guest policies are necessary in the case of Franklin Pierce’s Spring Weekend, I do believe more can be done to encourage students to know the dangers of binge drinking, especially when the weather is warm. Another thing would be to encourage students to stay with their friends, and to re-inforce the policy that those who report a person in a vulnerable state (i.e. passed out drunk) will receive immunity from punishment.

“Spring Weekend was a highlight of my year, every year for my entire time here,” said senior Alysha Raimo. “I just hope that the future classes take precaution and keep each other safe.”

Spring Weekend is a wonderful event that students, including the journalist who wrote this op-ed, look forward to every single year. In future years, look out for one another. Do not let someone get to the point of needing to be transported. You could save their life.

 

 

One Response to Op-ed: Safety on Spring Weekend

  1. Excellent article. Spring weekend didn’t exist when I was in college. It was interesting, and a little frightening, to learn about it by reading this piece.

    Miranda Warner May 4, 2017 at 6:44 pm Reply

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