It’s the most wonderful time of year…
Thought you’d get through April without an ominous email from the administration about Tour de Franzia? Think again. By this point last year Dean Mike Whaley had already emailed your parents about the annual wine-fueled shit-show of a scavenger hunt, and the rest of the administration had quietly set in motion a personalized listserv-by-listserv email campaign imploring you not to participate. It didn’t really work, since Tour de Franzia popped off right on schedule, but on the other hand it sort of did, because participation and hospitalizations were each down by about 50%.
This year’s strategy seems to fall in line with the recent trend: having realized they can’t stop Tour de Franzia altogether (barring use of unreasonably draconian measures), administrators are leveling threats and ramping up judicial consequences in the hopes that participation continues to drop and eventually falls off altogether. The latest “D.A.R.E to Resist Franzia and Dinosaur Costumes” public service announcement comes from Dean Mike Whaley, who knocked off the traditional all-campus Tour de Franzia email on April 11. The gist of Whaley’s note is that judicial charges will be stricter than usual this year, whether or not you’re actually drinking or causing damage or doing anything particularly reckless:
Approximately 20% of the students who participated in the Tour last spring were identified and referred to the SJB. We will ask more staff and faculty to help us monitor the event and document policy violations this year, and we want to make clear that students who choose to participate in any way (even if not drinking) will face judicial charges. We have consulted with the SJB concerning the sanctions that students should expect, and have determined that typical participants in the Tour will be assigned a minimum of 6 judicial points. Students should be warned that those who have already accrued points as well as those who engage in egregious behavior during the Tour may face immediate suspension (loss of tuition and this semester’s work). Seniors who participate in the Tour will be prohibited from participating in commencement.
“Given the health risk and potential judicial consequences,” Whaley concludes, “it is my hope that this personal appeal to your good judgment will help us avoid the tragedy I fear is likely if the Tour continues.”
Yesterday Dean Whaley forwarded the same email to our parents, requesting their help in “talking with your student about the very real dangers associated with the event, as well as the significant judicial consequences that participants will face.” Judging from reports on social media, parental reactions seem to be rather mixed:
my dad forwarded me Whaley’s tour de franzia email with the message attached “Ella – if you enter this event, I EXPECT YOU TO WIN.”
— Cameron Dawson (@atadsadistic) April 16, 2013
Considering the damages and hospital visits caused by recent Tours, Dean Whaley is probably right to express concerns. But his email gives no indication as to what even constitutes “participation” anymore, which apparently doesn’t require drinking or causing damage or, you know, doing the things that have made Tour de Franzia a problem in the first place.
“Don’t get me wrong, the Tour de Franzia is a kind of stupid thing to do,” commented Ben Tweed ’13 shortly after receiving the email. “But the email we got honestly reads like there won’t be much effort put into determining whether or not someone is participating in the Tour, and that makes me feel like I am best served by staying inside that night. That is all kinds of not okay.”
“I’m left wondering if there even is an actual definition by which P-Safe is being asked to abide, or if it’s been left entirely up to the people in the field on the night of,” Tweed continued.
In an email to Wesleying, WSA member Jason Shatz ’14 took a different view.
“As a WSA member and a member of the SAC, I will work with Dean Whaley and my peers to help clarify what constitutes ‘participating’ in the Tour de Franzia,” Shatz wrote. “But I agree with Dean Whaley on his larger point, that the event itself is completely unsustainable as an avenue for school spirit. I would prefer that this paradigm be replaced with one that puts camaraderie and community first.”
“It is not school spirit to go on an extremely drunken rampage and deface our beloved campus, destroy property, and act violently against those who act to maintain peace,” Shatz continued. “It is the reckless opposite, since it undermines the very sense of community that the event had tried to promote. We cannot afford the damage done by a group of overly inebriated students to the community that they inhabit.”
For the Class of 2013, Whaley’s email poses a thornier dilemma: Which would you rather—participate in Tour de Franzia or participate in Commencement? What’s more worth it, hearing Joss Whedon ’87 speak or sprinting around campus shitfaced in a costume loosely modeled after Joss Whedon characters? Don’t decide now. Maybe sleep on it.
Tour de Franzia