I am not a controversial person. I tend to make my home on the middle-ground, appease both sides, be a uniter and not a divider. That is why I promise to never use vulgar language in my column. I refuse to appeal to the lowest base, I refuse to run the risk of alienating the general public. I refuse to drop the F-bomb. Yes, my fellow students — I will never, EVER, utter the word "Festivus."
It is an ugly word, to be sure. A hateful, cowardly word. It represents nearly three years of intolerance toward the University of Richmond populace, three years of student subjugation to the lowest rung of campus relevance. It is the symbol of the administration's superiority complex, one that has denigrated a once-celebrated collegiate holiday into little more than free brunch admission into D-Hall.
Pig Roast is supposed to be anticipated with excitement and enthusiasm. This year, however, I heard more stirrings of worry and tension than anything else. Why the mood swing? Could it have been the infamous note taped to every UFA door, the one threatening eviction if any rules were violated? Were these scare tactics necessary to guarantee the student body's compliance?
To quote a friend well-versed in law-talk, it seems as though "the stranglehold of legal liability is slowly choking our campus to death."
And he's right — the administration's focus on "safety" has manifested itself into eviction threats and police warnings. At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if the Cellar loses its alcohol license and Richmond becomes a dry campus within a few years. But hey, at least we get to chalk the forum now!
Are we safer, or just angrier? Pig Roast is being systematically dismantled, the tradition collapsing as quickly as a can of Beast in a game of Detonator. Make no mistake: there are much better ways to adapt Pig Roast to fit into our school's new definition of "fun."
Why not free up some money for campus groups to throw big activities, like the concert in the Pier just three years ago? Carrots, not sticks — didn't anybody read Freakonomics?
And yet in the end, nothing really bad happened on Pig Roast. No riot squads knocking down apartment doors, no random breathalyzers, and as far as I've heard, no UFA evictions to speak of. I thought the increased police presence on campus would worry me, but you'd be surprised how a couple of Irish Car Bombs can really loosen you up no matter who's around. This puzzles me — why the threats by the administration? Why the warnings telling us we're going to get kicked out of housing with a month left in the semester? Fear tactics like these do nothing but cut off the ability to hold a reasonable conversation about the issue.
It turns it into a one-sided fight, the lowly students arguing against an all-powerful "Do What We Say, Or Else" governing body. It's like the Rebel Alliance versus the Empire (yes, that was a "Star Wars" reference).
So, a word to the school, from me: if you're going to try to make Pig Roast "safer" for us, don't do it by threatening us, do it by talking to us. Trust us. Believe it or not, the vast majority of students here are smart enough to make the right decisions even with a significant blood alcohol content. And to my fellow students: if you do have a Pig Roast horror story to share — an example of injustice you witnessed this past Saturday — please, write in and let it be heard. Otherwise the issue will just lay silent for another year, and next April we'll be getting notes taped to our doors making helmets and elbow pads required outerwear for the day's festivities.
And please, nobody call it "Festivus" anymore.
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