Discussion has been ongoing between students and administrators since October to reform what is seen by some as out of control behavior on the highly anticipated Dandelion Day. This annual festival is held the last Saturday before reading period and is both steeped in University history and replete with administrative angst in regards to drinking policies.
D-Day, as the day is colloquially known, features a headlining band for an afternoon concert and a number of other festivities, but has in recent years descended into a day focused around drinking. This year’s D-Day will be held on April 28.
“I think everyone is in agreement that we want to make this day a safer, more enjoyable day,” Associate Dean of Students Anne-Marie Algier said. “It’s really been going in the wrong direction and it needs to change.”
Algier said that the culture surrounding D-Day contributes to the idea held by many students that it is a day where administrators relax the rules, when it is really supposed to be about coming together in a community-wide celebration.
“Unfortunately, it does seem to be a day that people go to excess and do not take care of themselves,” she said. “We’ve had too many people have to be carted off to the hospital.”
Nonetheless, no one seems quite certain as to how D-Day should be changed or when these changes would go into effect; it could be as early as this year’s event.
“We hope to go back to what was a good tradition,” Algier said. This could be accomplished by “going back to the roots of the day” and trying to make the event more festival-like.
Students and the administration, however, are considering all options, including doing something completely different like hold a picnic or have a formal dance in the library. They are also looking at what other schools have done for similar celebratory occasions.
Algier said that she believes most students will understand the need for change, but acknowledged that many students will not be happy unless everything is exactly how it was.
“If we can create something unique and fun hopefully students would buy into it without the abuse,” she said, comparing this vision to something similar to WinterFest Weekend, during which drinking plays less of a role.
SA Senator and senior Harry Brookstein, who serves as a representative on the Standing Committee on Alcohol and Policy Education (SCAPE) said discussions about changing D-Day have been brought up very year, but never discussed as thoroughly as they have been this year.
Brookstein is hopeful that D-Day could change so that alcohol is a supplement to the day rather than a focus, so that “everyone gets what they want.”
“If the day is drastically changed, students will be unhappy,” said Brookstein. “I feel like there is some way to reach a compromise, so that alcohol is combined with tradition.”
Brookstein said he believes that change is possible, especially if it is gradual and from below.
Brookstein also said that the moratorium instated on bar parties in November did have some impact on the decision to start discussions.
In light of this, Brookstein believes that if the decision is made to cancel D-Day, “students will be really disillusioned with the administration” and think that the administration is trying to take away students’ social outlet.
Some students agree that policies need to change, while others said that UR should not intervene directly.
Freshman Kathryn Conheady, who has participated in the event only as a citizen of Rochester and not as a student, said she thinks UR should let students have fun given that it is the last week before finals.
“I think D-Day is the most fun people have here all year,” she said “They should let us have our fun.”
Conheady said she agrees that there should be other options, but thinks that UR “should not limit those of us who want to drink.”
Junior Grace Cannon said she has not been a part of the drinking culture in the two years that she has been at UR, but said that she is not bothered by what goes on.
“I think it’s kind of cool that the whole campus comes together,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that some students choose to celebrate in a bad way.”
She added that she does not believe that there is a need for more activities not involving drinking because the activities that take place on the quad are open to everyone and can be enjoyed regardless of a decision to drink.
Sophomore Cassidy Welter, however, said she does think there should be other options to make the day “more inclusive of what everyone wants.”
“I’m involved in Greek life so I think the drinking is more visible to me, but it hasn’t bothered me,” Welter said. “Some people do feel left out if they do not want to drink though.”
Junior Sawyer Holm said he thinks that UR should not take action to de-emphasize drinking, but said he thought creating more events on campus might be a good idea.
“I’m not really sure what differentiates a drinking event or a non-drinking event,” he said. “I think it should be up to the individual.”
Holm added that because it should be up to the individual, he does not think UR should take action to de-emphasize drinking because students will do what they want to do anyway.
Sophomore Elie Glik agreed that UR should take more of a hands-off approach, stating that he does not think it is UR’s responsibility to “crack down more on events.”
“People make whatever they want of the events,” he said. “But maybe groups like CAB [Campus Activities Board] should help foster other activities.”
Head of the SCAPE committee and Assistant Dean of Students Morgan Levy is optimistic about the capacity for change, however, and said that she hopes to make the day inclusive of all parts of campus and have alcohol and drug policies in effect as they are at all other times.
“No decisions have been made and we are reviewing information that is being gathered,” Levy said.
Buletti is a member of the class of 2013.