On April 18, 2013, the day after Temple’s then-annual Spring Fling, I got a text from my cousin, Nico Scipione – who attends West Chester University – asking about his friend who hadn’t returned to campus.
“Hey Chels, do you know what happened to Ali?” he said.
Scipione, now a sophomore, was a close friend of Ali Fausnaught, the 19-year-old West Chester student who fell to her death from a rooftop near Main Campus on Spring Fling last year.
“She was my good friend, man,” Scipione said.
The tragedy of Fausnaught’s death brought to light the real reason why most Temple students looked forward to the university’s Spring Fling: It was an excuse to drink, attend block parties and skip classes for the day. It wasn’t the displays of clubs and organizations that lined 13th Street and Liacouras Walk that had students out and about on that afternoon each year.
Yet, administrators denied that the event’s cancellation was related to Fausnaught’s death. Instead of acknowledging that her death played a role in its decision, Temple’s administration has acted as if the two incidents had nothing to do with each other.
It hasn’t even been a year since the anniversary of Fausnaught’s death and Student Activities has already decided to find a replacement for Spring Fling, called “Cherry-On Experience Day.” It is set to take place Saturday from 4-8 p.m. at the Geasey Field Complex off of 15th Street, close to the western edge of Main Campus. The event will include food, activities and a movie on the track.
“If anything, that’s going to encourage more drinking,” sophomore engineering student Justin Carpenter said about the event being moved from a Wednesday afternoon – as Spring Fling was held for decades – to a Saturday evening. It’ll prevent kids from skipping class, of course, but Carpenter said he believes “college kids look for any reason to drink.”
With or without the name Spring Fling, students are still going to drink. They really are not to be underestimated when it comes to making fools of themselves on the weekends, let alone on a Saturday evening.
“Think about people getting into dorms,” Carpenter said. “You don’t necessarily have to be stone-cold sober to get in. So unless you’re falling all over yourself, arriving comatose drunk and [the stationed police officers] are using Breathalyzers at the gates, it will be easy to get in.”
“No one’s going to go,” added Carpenter, who said he has no intentions of attending the event.
Overall, the decision to replace Spring Fling with Cherry-On Experience Day is insensitive regarding last year’s accident. While it can be argued that President Theobald canceled the event as soon as he was able, to simply ignore the death of a visiting student is disrespectful at best. Main Campus would have gotten along just fine without a Spring Fling replacement. Spending even one year without an outdoor block party is a small price to pay when an innocent woman has died.
Chelsea Ann Rovnan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.