Administrative Views on Tour de Franzia

The university tried this year, harder than ever, to prevent Tour de Franzia before it began. It failed. Franzia popped off last night—with a few more class deans and ResLife staff than usual, and probably a few more SJB summons as well.

Here’s a glimpse back at the university’s widespread email campaign imploring you not to tour. In other news, clean up your mess.

From Dean Brown to 2013:

2013’ers,

I wanted to encourage you to not participate in the Tour de Franzia.  I am really concerned about this event and ask that you consider the consequences for yourself and others.  There will be a strong administrative presence due to our concern for health and safety issues.  An SJB record stays on your record for six years from its occurrence, so think how one night could make a difference not only in this respect, but even longer in terms of your health and safety.

Best, Dean Brown

From Dean Melendez to 2014:

Dear Sophomores:

I wanted to encourage you to not participate in the Tour de Franzia.  I am really concerned about this event and ask that you consider the consequences for yourself and others.  There will be a strong administrative presence due to our concern for health and safety issues.  An SJB record stays on your record for six years from its occurrence, so think how one night could make a difference not only in this respect, but even longer in terms of your health and safety.

Best, Dean Melendez

From Rabbi David to Wesleyan’s Jewish Community:

Dear Wesleyan Jewish Community,

I want to encourage you to not participate in the upcoming Tour de Franzia (aka TDF).

Here is why:

The Jewish tradition (along with many others) emphasizes the importance of taking care of one’s body and spirit. While not an easy task, I am constantly in awe of how Judaism can provide us with a reservoir of resources for this task – our Torah and Shabbat, to name just a few.

Tonight also happens to be Shabbat, a time associated with community, rest, joy, home-made food, and friendship. I hope that tonight (as well as on future occasions) the Bayit can continue to serve as a prophetic oasis for both mindfulness and fun.

In addition, please keep in mind that unlike the Biblical Cain we really can and should be each other’s keepers.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi David

From Dean Melendez to 2014 Class Council:

Class Council: The deans’ office has gotten wind that the Tour will take place this Saturday.  You are aware that the administration has plans to deal severely with students who participate.  I am emailing you as leaders in your communities to spread the word to friends and peers that it might be best if they do not participate.

From Dean Mike Whaley to parents, March 9:

Dear Wesleyan Parent or Guardian,

We need your help.  I am forwarding to you the message (below) that I sent to all students yesterday.  The so-called “Tour de Franzia” has surfaced at Wesleyan in recent years and it has been fraught with problems.  It has been impossible for us to identify the students who organize the event because it is publicized and promoted via an anonymous Facebook account.  We need your help in talking with your student about the very real dangers associated with the event.  I hope you will help us to discourage participation in this dangerous activity.

Many thanks,

Dean Mike Whaley

From Dean Mike Whaley to All Campus, March 8:

Dear Students,

I wrote to the campus community last May regarding my concern about the “Tour de Franzia,” a student-initiated event that has occurred toward the end of the spring term for the last 3 years.

For those unfamiliar with the event, it has entailed small teams of students consuming a box of Franzia wine while visiting various campus locations designated by the organizers of the event.  The Tour has become a popular but very worrisome activity.  Given that a standard box of Franzia contains the equivalent of 42 drinks, many who have participated have been dangerously drunk as they were running around campus and crossing busy streets.  A dramatic number of students required hospitalization for acute intoxication or injuries, flooding the emergency room at Middlesex Hospital and disrupting its normal operation.  Many of these students had potentially lethal blood alcohol levels.  Although our principal concern is the safety and well-being of students, we were also dismayed by significant damage and vandalism, numerous complaints from neighbors living adjacent to campus, and disrespectful treatment of the Public Safety officers and other staff who attempted to monitor and address concerns that arose during the event.

Since last spring I have been discussing these serious issues with the WSA and other student groups.  Regardless of whether these students participated in the Tour, everyone seems to understand the problematic aspects of the event and agrees that something must be done before the Tour results in a tragedy for our community.

In considering solutions, some have suggested that the University try to manage the Tour as we have done with Spring Fling and other large events.  The problem with this option is that the Tour is, by its very nature, illegal and unsafe.  Many who participate are underage, and all of the participants violate Middletown’s ordinance prohibiting open containers of alcohol and public consumption.  The University will not suspend the Code of Conduct and will not condone or support these behaviors.

Others have suggested severe consequences (i.e. suspension) for student participants.  While this approach is possible, implementation of such a tactic is difficult and might well pit students against administrators in attempting to resolve issues about which we should all be equally concerned.  Such a strategy should be a last resort.

I believe that the Tour must end.  It is extremely dangerous.  The negative impact on our campus and for Middletown is significant.  I am appealing to all students to consider the many issues I have articulated above and refrain from participating in the Tour this spring. We must act as a community before we lose any of our own.

Student Affairs, WesWELL and the WSA will convene a community meeting immediately after Spring Break to discuss high-risk drinking at Wesleyan.  I’ve also attached a “Factsheet” that WesWELL developed in response to concerns about the Tour.

It is my sincere hope that this personal appeal to your good judgment will help us avoid the tragedy that I fear is likely if the Tour continues.

Sincerely,

Dean Mike Whaley

From Dean Rick Culliton to various university staff (and forwarded to student library workers):

You likely have heard that  student-planned Tour de Franzia is likely going to occur this weekend.  The information we have received from students is that the event will either be tonight or Saturday night.  I am writing to ask each of you for your help with your facilities.  In past years students have attempted to get into various buildings as part of the scavenger hunt and we have experienced some vandalism/damage.  I believe locations under your purview have  been on the list in the past but we won’t have access to this year’s list until the event starts. Can you please inform your staff and take extra steps to make sure that buildings are as secure as they can be and staff are aware that this event is going to take place.  It would be wise to make sure electric vehicles or other expensive equipment is not out where it would be susceptible to vandalism.

In addition to essentially doubling the public safety presence on campus, we will have about 20 student affairs staff on campus tonight and/or tomorrow night to address incidents, identify students and document what happens.  If any of your staff are around it would be helpful to ask them to do the same and/or call public safety if they see anything suspicious(vandalism, open containers, underage drinking).

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Rick

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17 thoughts on “Administrative Views on Tour de Franzia

  1. anonamo wes alum

    The Wesleyan Franzia Song

    (to be sung to the tune of the Wesleyan Fight song)

    And then its Franzia, Wesleyan,
    never give in.
    Tour till the end
    when might and right shall win.
    So keep on Franzing ’til victory
    Tour everyone;
    And then it’s franz, franz, franz, franz
    Wes Franzia!
    Go Wes!

  2. Pingback: Post-TDF Stats: An Interview with Dean Mike Whaley – Wesleying

  3. Pingback: Post-TDF Stats: An Interview with Dean Rick Culliton – Wesleying

  4. Pingback: P-Safe Drops Franzia “Awareness Report” – Wesleying

  5. Anon

    For A Non Non … actually administration being there is a huge step to addressing sexual assault on campus … it often happens when students are drunk and vulnerable.  You can encourage people to use their free will to make better choices. 

  6. Guest

    As a recent alum, I was always amazed at how much damage Wes students could do in one night. 

    And to those who think that alcohol poisoning isn’t a serious issue, you should know that a student died yesterday at Lafayette from alcohol poisoning.

  7. A Non Non

    The way the administration has acted towards this annual event only shows how out of touch they really are with the students and in general who young adults are and their needs. I know for a fact the event was only more popular and fun because the administration tried (and failed) to shut it down by conducting forums, reaching out to our parents through letters, and trying to guilt trip students with the various emails above (I love the identical emails sent out by the class deans). Nice try, Wesleyan. You failed, you only made the event bigger and now it certainly will be here for years to come. You cannot control people. They have this thing called free will (I know this upsets you), but oh no wait a SJB stays on my record for six years, whatever shall I do! Why not just suspend every student involved in the event? Why not just videotape the event for the old archives? 

    It seems now they are most concerned with the ‘someone will die eventually’ theory, which of course is a concern anytime a student consumes alcohol (senior cocks/class reunion tent parties). But tell me what has the school done to really help our students dealing with depression, sexual assault, hate speech, etc… where are the mass emails and campus presence for these things that go on everyday yet are swept under the rug.  How many Wesleyan paid employees tried unsuccessfully to deter this single event over help/organize events that deal with more important issues (need I list them)? Why is there no email home about the Sextacy party going on tonight, oh wait that is going to be awesome nevermind.

    Stop trying to change Wesleyan. It will only fight back and make underground things/events ever more prevalent. So hats off to you administration, thanks of the rocking party and all the attention. 

    1. alum '10

      How about you have fun without breaking shit and getting so intoxicated you have to go to the Hospital For Students Who Can’t Hold Their Liquor?

      The admin wouldn’t give a shit about the Tour if a) people didn’t vandalize campus while piss-ass drunk and b) they didn’t get so drunk they had to go to the hospital. See? Have your fun, but be smart about it. Make sense? Apparently it doesn’t for some people who somehow were smart enough to get into Wesleyan. Guess book smart doesn’t equal common sense.

  8. Guest

    What I don’t get is why Reslife was there.   What was their role as enforcers?  What were they hoping to accomplish or prevent?  

    1. Guest

      Trying to prevent thousands of dollars worth of property damage, because for some reason people at this school can’t drink without destroying shit.

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