Bowing to intense pressure from an angrily motivated student body, the administration has announced that it will not use the Student Activities and Leadership Development Board to ban Zonker Harris day. Earlier restrictions on raising money from RA’s to fund the embattled festival will also be eased, though the $1000 annual guidance budget will still be witheld, placing a heavy financial burden on the organizers.
“We’ve been surprised by the intensity of the pressure on us to allow it to continue, and in consultation with the Admissions Department we’ve tried to work out a way for the festival to continue with some modifications,” Director of ResLife Fran Koerting said Monday. “Public Safety is being asked to play a much more prominent role this year in order to ensure that the Code of Non-Academic Conduct is followed.”
Rumors have circulated that some Public Safety Officers will be out of uniform in order to present a less intimidating presence to revelers and, in the words of Director of Public Safety David Meyer, “Really show that we’re not here to put a damper on your fun, demonstrate that we’re just trying to keep you safe,” adding that his main concern wasn’t “some student smoking a little reefer in the privacy of their room and then going outside to play with paint,” but rather “hostile elements, perhaps from outside the University, who may see the festival as an opportunity to take advantage of our students. Shank them and sell their iPods for crack, steal their sneakers, that kind of thing.”
President Michael Roth couldn’t be reached for immediate comment, but Dean of Admissions Nancy Meislahn, one of the architects of what has come to be known as “Operation Buzzkill,” decried ResLife’s “spinelessness, and just general inability to say no even when clear violations of our drug policy are happening right out in the open in front of parents and prospective students.” She added, “I don’t see anything wrong with calling the Middletown Police Department and having the whole lot of degenerates stripped, searched, cuffed and thrown in the slammer.”
Privately, administrators have acknowledged that much credit for the shift is due to the chorus of alumni and trustee opinions they’ve heard in the weeks since the decision was announced. One senior-level administrator, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the deliberations, was surprised just how many people’s parents seemed to be “both generous, committed allies of the University and simultaneously a pack of… well I don’t know what else to call them besides rich, predominantly Jewish, dopefiends.” She added, “There’s a real sense of moral outrage against this kind of crackdown. Many alumni cherish countercultural memroies of Wesleyan, and feel heartbroken that the University is trying to whitewash its image in what they see as a dishonest, revisionist fashion.” Many have threatened to withdraw their financial support, citing other progressive institutions such as Hampshire College as being potentially more deserving of their money.
Public Safety will be having a number of open workshops in the coming weeks in order to better prepare students to confront the challenges they’ll undoubtedly be faced with at Zonker Harris Day this year. “We’re really concerned about the potential for someone to overdose, or accidentally take a drug other than they intend,” explained Meyer. “We’re going to be having an outside expert come in and explain to students how to tell ‘good shit’ from ‘brick weed’, and we’ll be distributing free drug-test kits in order to ensure that the pills students will undoubtedly be popping are pure and, you know, what they think they are.” In not-so-oblique reference to Sunday’s incidents, he added “Sure, we’d prefer students respect the Code and not ingest illegal drugs, but pragmatically speaking the last thing we want is for people to rush into something, take too much acid and then run down the halls naked defecating and urinating on everyone and everything in sight. I mean who knows, there is a real potential for a scatological situation involving a tour group. We’re really trying to minimize that possibility, and so we’re focusing our efforts along the lines of ‘responsible use’-type education rather than, you know, TASERs and K9 units…”
Professer Pringle of the Chemistry department also volunteered to run state-of-the-art chromotography and NMR tests to determine the purity and identity of “you know, mystery pills, powders, things that might or might not be blotter acid” in an effort to ensure that no chemical accidents happen. Adding, “I know a little something about these drugs myself, you see. Back in the 60’s and early 70’s Wesleyan was actually a really wonderful place to work if you were into any of those kind of compounds, because there were so many of us Professors researching them. You could trade notes on lysergic chemicals with the Professor across the hall or, you know, go down a floor and get the skinny on the tryptamines from the guy who dug that kind of stuff. Man, we sure had some memorable faculty conferences.”
Even Bon Appetit was relieved at the turn of events. Weshop will be stocking extra snack items, the most successful of which will likely be continued in subsequent weeks. “The whole Zonker Harris phenomenon really gives us a new way to market healthy food to students in a manner consistent with the Circle of Responsibility,” gushed Delmar Crim. “It just really opens new doors in terms of trying new things. New flavor combinations, hip snacks and edgy uses for Nutella all form this kind of synergy which we’re really trying to make the most of.” Crim then showed off his “ZonkZuit,” a tie-died mascot-style costume complete with a big filligreed spoon, which he’ll be premiering at the festival. “I’m going to be walking around with a sample platter, of you know, ‘munchies’ and just really trying to educate people about how to eat better. This seemed like the best option to really connect with kids, you know, speaking the hip jive of the youths.”