UR’s Dandelion Day is being watched carefully this year, as concerns about drinking have led the Dean of Students’ Office to question the nature of the event, particularly the drinking that goes on across campus. D-Day has been under some degree of scrutiny for several years. The event has been left off of the academic calendar for next year as well.
“It seems like it’s becoming increasingly difficult to manage this thing in a safe way,” Dean of Students Jody Asbury said.Campus Activities Board has planned the event for the last several years, and this year’s event will include standard components such as carnival rides. This year will also include a large food tent, similar to the one at convocation.
Before making serious modifications, however, Asbury and CAB are looking for ways that other student groups can help make the day better. Organizations have been contacted to come up with ways to make the day safer and more open. Among those that have been included so far are various class councils and the Fraternity President’s Council.
“It’s necessary to have a campus-wide view of the event,” Director of Wilson Commons and Student Activities Anne-Marie Algier said. One of the problems in planning the event has been that the event is too large to be planned entirely by any one group.
Administrative Co-Chair of CAB Jason Smith said that the few changes this year would be “changes that can make it more of a community event.”
CAB and the Student Activities Office have been approached by quite a few sources interested in making the event safer, including Residential Life, fraternities, UR Security and a number of students.Some students feel that the event’s current atmosphere is not worth participating in.
“I’ve heard a lot of students say they plan to be off campus that day,” Asbury said.
CAB does not plan drinking for the day and the university does not plan the drinking that occurs on the day.”In spite of all our good efforts, everyone’s efforts it still becomes a concern to us,” Asbury said. “The issues are with what’s happening elsewhere.
In the past, the event was not announced very far ahead of time, and was in many ways a surprise day for UR students. Such an approach has also been discussed for the future.
D-Day originated as “a day for students and faculty and students to get together in celebration of spring,” Vice President and General Secretary Paul Burgett said.
Over time, “a non-trivial part of D-Day revolved around alcohol consumption, often at abusive and dangerous levels,” he continued.
Many students have started drinking in the morning, and often attend events throughout the day intoxicated. Last year, 10 students were taken to hospital with alcohol-related problems.
“A lot of people who normally don’t drink to excess, drink to excess that day,” Burns said.
Asbury would also like to see the day return to being more about school spirit if it remains. “The culture has gotten to be something that doesn’t have anything to do with being a student at UR,” Asbury said.
Disciplinary measures can be taken against students. Burns said that ad hoc judicial boards are being set up through the ACJC to handle cases that may arise on D-Day. “Everything about discipline says ‘immediacy is important,'” Burns said.
Brown can be reached at email@example.com.