Continuing its brief but noble history of stirring the pot, the mysteriously run @WesUnity Twitter (which drew eyeballs when it announced last month that Tour de Franzia was being disciplined more severely than some instances of sexual assault or misconduct) made a Facebook event on Thursday called “Tour de Franzia”:
Short answer: It sometimes seems that way, but it’s a bit more complicated than judicial points.
Image via Jezebel, because they have an art director and we don’t.
Last Friday I published an FAQ about some of the questionable means by which Wesleyan’s administration is trying to block Tour de Franzia from happening this year. Since then, the post has attracted well over 4,000 views, thirty-odd mostly heated comments, and yet another Jezebel feature, this one headlined “Wesleyan’s Tour de Franzia Meltdown Reaches Ridiculous New Levels.” (It has even attracted the attention of the Brian Lehrer Show, which questioned whether Wesleyan was right to warn parents about “the annual Tour De Franzia drinking-while-biking event.” Don’t give us any ideas, Brian Lehrer.) In addition to pointingout fairly obvious infringements on student rights, much of the discussion has centered on a minor point in my post, which I only learned by way of a tweet from @WesUnity: the minimum number of judicial points assigned for participating in Tour de Franzia this year (six) is higher than the minimum number of judicial points assigned for committing sexual assault or misconduct (five). Here’s how some people are responding to this data point:
Maybe you thought the administration would reign in its attempts to stop Tour de Franzia after being publicly skewered everywhere from MSN to Gawker-owned feminist snarkfest Jezebel to something calling itself “BroBible.” You were wrong. If anything, after begging your parents to stop the mayhem, the powers that be have only stepped up their game, going so far as to email all faculty, have RAs set up military-style checkpoints outside student dorms on the night of the Tour, and threaten to slap students with six judicial points for, uh, “wearing costumes.” Don’t be mad! They’re just trying to keep you safe! Tour de Franzia is dangerous!
Anyway, here’s your definitive guide to everything you’ve been wondering about What the Fuck is the Administration Doing About Tour de Franzia This Year.
Q: When’s Tour de Franzia? How will I find out about it? Is it even happening this year? A: Who knows, but probably. There’s no fixed date, but in recent years it has occurred during one of the last weekends of the semester. It’s typically announced by an anonymous Facebook profile, “WesParty Guy” (which is deactivated when not in use), as well as via word of mouth and mass texts. There won’t be a Facebook event or whatever, especially after the Great Facebook Event Crackdown of 2010.
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:
Continued from yesterday, here is the second administration-centered interview on Tourde Franzia (henceforth marked as TDF), this time with Dean Mike Whaley, Vice President of Student Affairs. It’s pretty damn long, and so I’m just going to jump into it, but before that I want to note two things:
(1) Zach and I conducted this interview on the morning of SpringFling, so when we tell this story we like saying “We pregamed Spring Fling with Mike Whaley.” Technically, that’s not an inaccurate statement, but there were no drinkies, so maybe it is. But that’s only if you’re being particular about the definition of pregaming.
(2) When we were conducting the interview, the dean had ambient, meditative/trance music going on in the background. This compelled, at least for me, a sleep-inducing lull that resulted in a lack of coherence, and so the conversation went in a mostly roundabout fashion. What follows is not the natural conversation as it happened, but a selective reorganization of the transcript. We assure you, however, that nothing whatsoever is misrepresented.
So, for the past week, Zachhas been getting me—by threatening me with a glow-stick, as usual—to run around with him to get the administrative perspective on Tour de Franzia. Here’s the first product of that running around, an interview with Dean Rick Culliton, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, who was gracious enough to give us—via a set of terse email replies—the post-game stats of last Friday’srevelries.
A longer, more conversational interview with Dean Mike Whaley, Vice President for Student Affairs, will be posted sometime later today, if I ever finish my paper in time. (Edit: Whoops, probz tomorrow.) For Public Safety’s own “Awareness Report” regarding the event, click here.
Could you describe the administration’s attempts to prevent Tour de Franzia from taking place this year?
As you are aware, the university increased its staff presence by doubling up the public safety shifts and bringing in about 20 student affairs staff to monitor the event, secure facilities and address violations of the code of non-academic conduct.
Did you think these strategies were successful? If so, how so?
The increased presence of staff led to less vandalism than previous years and an increase in the number of students documented who will now face judicial charges as a result.
Wespook. This is beyond ridiculous, Scott Backer. I’ve had good nights before. This was one of them. Touring was cool. Fountain was excellent. I don’t remember seeing you around. I saw other administrators. I hate myself and want to die. I think that xxkx xxnxxxn ‘xx dominates this video. I don’t think that means what you think it means. Wespook. Do you like it? Do you know who they are? Do you have already seen the last one? Do you love me? Do you know Almonds and Elephants. Wespook. Maybe I was asked to share a song. Maybe you sensed it in the video. Maybe this shit confuses you. Maybe there is no alternative. Maybe Wesleyan is the worst. Maybe call me. I don’t know. Wespook.
You post incriminating Facebook photos, P-Safe posts an “Awareness Log.” So it goes. As usual, if you’re wondering what Wesleyan’s Public Safety staff was up to while you were belligerently chugging boxed wine up and down College Row in a homespun Kraftwerk costume, check out the Awareness Log on P-Safe’s website. From a cursory glance, it looks like the previous record of nine hospitalizations has been reduced down to four (or five if you count one “intoxicated non-student who was transported to the ER”). On the other hand, the number of documented students is almost certainly way up, given the increased administrative presence (sup, ResLife?) during the Tour.
Other surprising highlights from the awareness log include (a) “individuals in a vehicle yelling racial slurs” (not students, I hope), (b) “Fire Alarm-Foss Hill-Malicious activation of pull station” (is that what all the firetrucks by Weshop were responding to?), and (c) damaged doors and windows.
Scroll on for the full log. The report more or less pauses with one last hospitalization at 2:58, picking up with one mention of “unidentified suspicious people” at 5 a.m. Click here for last year’s P-Safe Report and here for a collection of administrative emails urging students not to participate. Check back here tomorrow for more administrative perspectives on Tour de Franzia.
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:
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.
So, 2 days ago an all-campus email was sent out by Dean Mike Whaley imploring the student body to cease the annual athletic contest and shit-show rodeo that we know as Tour de Franzia.
This is all dandy and fine; the vice president of student affairs is reaching out to us to address to something that he is very concerned about. And then he sends this email to our parents:
“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.
Dean Mike Whaley”
So, when you go home today or over the weekend or whenever you do this break, do expect to answer some questions and provide some descriptions of wet, sticky nights running around as Chewbacca. And make sure to make note of the fact that “Tour de Franzia” is actually, above all else, a fun old pun.