The years-long tradition of Spring Fling, intended to help integrate commuter students into the environment of Main Campus with display tables for various student organizations and programs, was canceled in 2013 after President Theobald called the day a “bacchanal.” The event, Theobald and other administrators agreed, had ceased to serve its original purpose and had devolved into an excuse to day-drink during times usually devoted to class.
The canceling of Spring Fling also followed the tragic death of a visiting student, Ali Fausnaught of West Chester University – though officials never cited the incident as motivation for putting a stop to the traditional festivities.
It’s true that Spring Fling was a drinking fest. However, canceling the event in its original form and replacing it with subsequent smaller events, like last year’s Cherry On Experience Day and this year’s planned event, TU Pop Up, is unlikely to minimize student drinking throughout the day or prevent students from throwing parties off campus. Last year, a massive student-organized block party on Park Avenue vastly overshadowed Cherry On Experience Day, despite Temple Student Government and the administration’s efforts to produce an exciting and interesting event for students.
It stands to reason that canceling the university-controlled aspect of the event was never, and still is not, guaranteed to end the student mindset-controlled aspect. TU Pop Up, this year’s event, is based in part on the concept of Night Market Philadelphia. Students have already decided to party on one specific day in April; a nightlife-themed event held by the university is certainly not the catalyst to change that.
It’s a difficult spot for the university to be in. But in this case, perhaps doing nothing – no event, no recognition of the former Spring Fling – is the answer. If a day of April isn’t singled out in the consciousness of the Temple community, maybe students will stop having so many parties on the same day that safety hazards occur.