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Citing drinking, officials cancel Spring Fling

The decades-long event has been canceled after pervasive drinking has become more a part of Spring Fling.

The third Wednesday of April will just be an ordinary day on Main Campus next year.

After April’s Spring Fling was marred by drinking and ended with a 19-year-old West Chester University student falling to her death from an off-campus row house, university administrators have canceled the decades-old event.

MAGGIE TRAPANI | TTN

MAGGIE TRAPANI | TTN

Citing  goals that have been “undermined” by drinking in recent years, administrators told The Temple News in interviews during the last week that the university is canceling the event.

In the past, the event was aimed mainly at commuter students to showcase student organizations and performers, but as the campus has become increasingly residential, drinking has become more of a component of the day.

The decision to end the event came after a series of meetings among high-level administrators after Spring Fling and during the summer.

After the most recent Spring Fling, President Neil Theobald commissioned Provost Hai-Lung Dai and two vice presidents – James Creedon and Theresa Powell – to look into the future of spring activities, but Theobald said that it’s been clear for months that the event would not carry out as usual.

“It’s kind of been hijacked by a group of people that make this into a bacchanal, a drinking fest,” Theobald said. “We’re not involved in that.”

While the event has been a mainstay at Temple for years, university officials determined that the day met less of the goals it had set for Spring Fling in the past and became a detriment to the academic climate.

“This used to be an event that seemed to have a real benefit to the college community because it was the only opportunity that all of these commuter students came together,” Dean of Students Stephanie Ives said. “This particular event has really transformed into something where students perceive it as an excuse to drink and a drinking holiday.”

Four months ago, Spring Fling captured the attention of the area after Ali Fausnaught, a freshman at West Chester University, was killed after she fell from the roof of a house on the 1900 block of North 18th Street.

While Fausnaught’s death was described as devastating by administrators, Powell said the incident wasn’t the reason for the cancellation of Spring Fling.

“Her death was extremely tragic and just a shock,” Powell said. “But she is not the reason for this move. It was just the culture that this is now a day to drink and that was most disturbing to us.”

The ubiquitous drinking that has enveloped Spring Fling in recent years has also started to draw students from other universities to North Philadelphia because of the culture that has surrounded it.

Though drinking seemed to play much of the role in the demise of Spring Fling, administrators said its effects started to seep into the classroom.

Along with scores of students who skipped their classes for the day, officials reported hearing of professors who contributed to it by canceling class.

“There’s nowhere we said cancel class, there’s nowhere we promoted skipping class, so there’s just something wrong with this position,” Powell said.

Temple Student Government Student Body President Darin Bartholomew said he was asked by administrators to make the academic case for Spring Fling, which he couldn’t because “it’s very hard to make an academic case for an event where classes are canceled.”

“If any student rationally thought about that question and tried to put themselves in my position, you can say a lot of things that quite honestly aren’t true, but if you are going to answer with any sort of integrity, it’s very hard to make that case,” Bartholomew said.

Instead of Spring Fling, Student Activities, TSG and the Main Campus Program Board, along with other students, are working on finding other events for the spring, though officials warned that no single program will replace Spring Fling.

“We will continue to find spring programming that will achieve the goals that we had set: engagement in campus, feeling that sense of school spirit, providing students and student organizations the opportunity to be involved and demonstrate what it is that they’re all about,” Ives said. “We want to find a way to fulfill those goals.”

Ives added that she expects to receive recommendations on spring programs within the next few months.

Sean Carlin can be reached at sean.carlin@temple.edu or follow on Twitter @SeanCarlin84. 

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14 comments on “Citing drinking, officials cancel Spring Fling

  1. TU2006 on said:

    I cant wait for the unofficial unregulated everything-goes off-campus 2014 spring fling! real smart administrators, kick it off campus where you cant regulate it …

    • It is real smart of them.

      Now they aren’t liable/responsible for what the even brings if an off campus version happens.

  2. Of course drinking the reason for spring fling! And of course the university cancelled it due to the girl’s death/civil liability issues. What a bunch of crap. Now if they would only get rid of the left wing professors I would donate money happily to my Alma mater.

  3. The students have no one to blame but themselves. I remember what a drunken mess it was. It’s unfortunate they have ruined it for everyone.

    • Anna on said:

      I agree. Everyone on campus was a drunken, obnoxious mess last year. There were people passed out on Buery beach and throwing up in bushes. Classy. As someone who doesn’t have any personal interest that favors “drinking culture”, I can see why Temple would feel that hosting such an event damages its reputation. Get White Girl Wasted all you want, but do it on your own time.

  4. tommy g. on said:

    Typical Temple. One step forward, two steps back.

    Go after the professors that cancel class or allow a silly amount of unexcused absences per semester. Spring Fling was one of the few events that actually made the campus, you know, feel like an actual college campus. Really smart move.

  5. jake on said:

    this is completely ridiculous, maybe if it was on a Saturday you wouldn’t have people skipping class. Maybe if held people in the temple area responsible for things they do you wouldn’t have these issues. honestly temple sucks, this is our only event that holds meaning to people. No one goes to football games really and the only sport people care about is basketball. neither of those things matter because past the first round of the play offs we lose anyway. Stop trying to make sports work for temple because it wont, no one cares about teams that never do anything. And what so now you take away the one mostly free and interesting event on campus. why not just have temple police crack down on parties, public drunkenness, open containers, and idk any other related issue. not people enjoying the one thing we have at temple.

    • “the first round of the play offs”

      Clearly, Jake isn’t much into sports. By the way, Jake, Temple Football games are well attended by students and the student section is only continuing to grow. “Stop trying to make sports work” is one of the least articulate statements I have ever read. I’m glad your input on the matter is about as important as the crap on the bottom of my shoes.

  6. Carmel Macklin on said:

    Wow…cant believe Spring Fling is cancelled! I graduated in 98′ and I remember it being such a fun event! Step shows, booths, concerts, mingling etc! Drinking was never pervasive, even though I’m sure some people partook in that and other extracurricular activities…However the school has changed in many ways since I left. Not sure why the school doesn’t just cancel classes on that day anyway?

  7. Temple builds the 27 story Morgan Hall to help attract more students by creating a more traditional “closed campus” atmosphere and then scolds students for doing the same. There is no justification for the classroom disruption, but there are more sensible ways to address Spring Fling. Move it to the weekend (if anyone has insight as to why the university could not do this please leave a comment).

    There was a voiced concern for commuter students, for whom the event was originally designed. If Temple is committed to growing the on-campus community, they’re going to need to do a better job of catering to both commuter and on-campus students.

  8. Tom G on said:

    Did they really just notice this now? I attended plenty of Temple Spring Flings in the early 2000’s and it was pretty much an unregulated drinking fest. It was fun and I never noticed any serious issues.

    Stupid move by short sighted administrators.

  9. MADD on said:

    Good Job Temple!!!!

    Parents who allow their kids to drink legal or not need a good lesson too!!

  10. MADD on said:

    I’m sorry drinkings the problem.. Not the buildings!!!

  11. Erica on said:

    Ali was my best friend from highschool and although we went to different colleges I texted her every single day up until 10 minutes before she Fell. This article as well as many others has made no mention of the fact that there were over 800 people at her memorial service or how much she is missed by so many people. She was gorgeous, naturally bright, and had a sense of humor that brought me to tears so many times. It’s been 4 months and not a morning goes by that I don’t wake up and feel like somebody ripped my heart out of my chest. Yes, I’m sure many of you are dissappointed that spring fling was canceled but I just want you all to think about how sad it will be for her parents and all of her friends when we celebrate her 20th birthday in September without her.

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