Dean Whaley: Administration to Ramp Up Tour de Franzia Charges, Whether or Not You’re Actually Drinking

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:


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 

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21 thoughts on “Dean Whaley: Administration to Ramp Up Tour de Franzia Charges, Whether or Not You’re Actually Drinking

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  5. moneyball

    Literally the best two days of each of my last two years at Wes were le Tour. Absolutely planning on doing it again as are pretty much everyone I’ve talked to. But then again my friends aren’t pussies.

  6. Mike '11

    Seriously? Tons of people go to the hospital and tons of property damage occurs every weekend at Wesleyan. This is the biggest events of the year in terms of social life and it’s one of my favorite memories (at least the parts I do remember). You already have been cracking down on Zonker Harris Day and now Tour de Franzia. NEWS FLASH: The fact that these events existed when I graduated (2011) didn’t make us poor students – hell, one person from my TdF team is at Georgetown Law and another is at Cornell Medical College. I understand you’re worried about the damage to the university, but you can deal with that in a way other than suspending students in good academic standing – it’s called fines.

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  8. Pissed Off '13

    First: Mickey, PREACH.

    Second: Am I the only person so far who has a problem with Roth et al. literally smacking down a “sit at home and shut up or don’t walk in commencement,” ultimatum? Even if I don’t participate in the tour itself, does that mean I can’t go to the Fountain backyards? I’m over 21, does that mean I can’t even drink at a friend’s house? This is ridiculously vague and shame on Dean Mike and everyone for being so dictatorial. This is NOT cool. I can’t speak for underclassmen but I’m an adult and should be able to make my own choices as well as not being held liable for others’ stupidity.

  9. Mickey

    Umm… to quote Jews, “Why is this night different from all the other nights?”

    I understand that the administration is afraid that someone will die from alcohol poisoning or running in front of an oncoming car, and they want to do everything they can to prevent that, but this seems like one of the more draconian and least effective possibile approaches to that end.

    By stating that “students who choose to participate in any way (even if not drinking) will face judicial charges” and that “Seniors who participate in the Tour will be prohibited from participating in commencement” they are effectively giving themselves permission to keep me from walking at graduation, because I was outside with friends. They also reinforce the idea that the only way to participate in Tour De Franzia is to shirk reason, get hopelessly drunk, and destroy property.

    Already, student reactions suggest that it is extremely unlikely that no one will participate in the Tour. A more likely consequence of the admin’s policy is that responsible students who might otherwise drink reasonably, keep their friends in check, and take care of those who ended up over the line are more likely to stay home leaving the event to students who don’t read their emails, have no concern for their disciplinary record, and plan on outrunning public safety. I think this second category of students will be especially at risk without the positive influence of their peers.

    I agree that extreme drinking, reckless behavior, and destruction of property is impermissible on any night of the week, and am in full support of administration efforts to stamp out these components of the event, but I still love the Tour. I can hardly think of a better way to spend one of the last nights of my college career than exploring the secret corners of campus, dressed as the Mighyty Morphin’ Power Rangers with my closest friends, giddily running into theclassmates I’ve rubbed shoulders with for the last four years.

    Tour De Franzia has never been about the alcohol to me, and while I wouldn’t argue that getting drunk is not a significant part of the appeal for many students, I think there are better ways to make TDF safer without levying this binary disciplinary policy of being a part of the tour or not. For starters:

    – Add provisions to the open container policy that are more severe for groups of students carrying more alcohol than should be consumed by the group, thus encouraging students to get 3-liter boxes instead of 5s and have bigger team member:box size ratios.

    – Specify that reckless behavior includes incautious street crossing and post officials at intersections encouraging students to look both ways and walk across the street.

    – Send an email reminding students that property destruction costs the school money, and therefore contributes to rising tuition costs, program cuts, and reduced scholarship funds.

    – Clarify that those who are cooperative with public safety officers and administrative officials will only document those violating the code of non-academic conduct by destroying property, acting violently toward peers, or carrying/drinking open containers thus precluding the need for hordes of students to go running every time they see an official, one of the event’s primary dangers from my perspective.

    These ideas are just what I’ve thought of on the fly. They’re not perfect and would likely not put an end to hospitalizations and property destruction at the Tour, but I believe they are all more helpful than the policy outlined in Dean Whaley’s email which arbitrarily declares that “typical participants in the Tour will be assigned a minimum of 6 judicial points” without clarifying what ‘typical’ ‘participants’ ‘Tour’ or ‘6 judicial points’ even mean.

  10. Angel Armstead

    On whichever balmy night the Tour happens, I’m planning a very special event. The Tour de Franzen will go down in the scili 24-hour fishbowl. We’ll be reading Freedom aloud, in its entirety. Bring your glasses, deep-seated family conflicts, birding guides and antipathy towards technology. Shit’s gonna get dark.

  11. Whaley's Lost Testicles

    I hate being condescended to and babied. I’m a fucking adult. How is this anything but draconian?

    I hate you so much Whaley. I wish I could hate you to death.

    1. alum

      If events like the science center fiasco and past tours de franzia indicate anything, it is that wes students do not know how to hold their liquor (and thus need aforementioned babying). whaley is pretty well justified in worrying that a wes student does serious damage to hirself, others, and/or the campus.

      if people just got a little drunk and ran around campus, the admin wouldnt give a shit. but because people wind up in the ER and tons of windows, etc. get broken, the admin has a strong incentive to stop it.

      1. student '13

        Dear Alum,

        I think it is less about generalizing “students” when it is a few that wrecked havoc at sr. cocks, and a few who are stupid enough and just ridiculous enoug hto ruin campus during TDF. Since you’re a graduate, you probably don’t know how much Wes has changed in the past 4 years, but in the 4 years i’ve been here, the administration has been cracking down and being a big ass douchebag more and more every year. If your argument stands, then the admin shouldn’t be punishing people WHO AREN’T. EVEN. DRINKING.

        1. alum

          I am a recent alum and have done the Tour myself. and yes, it is but a few who ruin it for many, but my point still stands.
          how should psafe enforce what you suggest? use breathalyzers?

  12. Fukushima Clean Up Crew

    Kids, you’ve gotta fight for your right to paaartay. For real though – Tour is the best, just don’t break things like an asshat.

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