Administrative Reports Recommend Suspending Sun God 2015

Sun God
In this file photo, students crowd RIMAC Field during the 2013 Sun God Festival.

High levels of alcohol-related incidents and a student’s death, along with reportedly overworked and poorly trained staff members, lead two administrative councils to support canceling the annual festival for 2015.

The 2015 Sun God Festival may be in jeopardy after two campuswide administrative councils officially supported an immediate suspension of the annual music event.

In an email obtained by the UCSD Guardian last week, both the Council of Deans and Council of Residential Deans endorsed a moratorium on hosting the Sun God Festival in 2015 due to increasing safety concerns.

Both Councils, consisting of representatives from the six colleges and all residential areas, respectively, included their recommendation to interim Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Alan Houston.

UCSD’s Council of Resident Deans’ report noted that concerns about the student safety justified a shutdown on the festival next year. The report, entitled “Sun God Feedback – Residence Life – Anecdotal thoughts on SGF 2014” referenced the post-festival death of Revelle junior Ricky Ambriz as a reason to cancel the event.

“Due to the student death, and the cost in staff hours to preparing for the event this year, a recommendation to cancel or place a moratorium [on] the Sun God Festival for the near futures is strongly enforced by residence life,” the document read.

The Council of Deans, on the same note, said that because of “on-going concerns about alcohol use and the high conduct load, [COD] believes a larger discussion about putting a moratorium on the event needs to occur.”

COD’s report, “Sungod 2014 Feedback/Suggestions — All College,” also referenced Ambriz’s death, though it did not claim that the death was directly related to the festival. COD members, according to the report, felt they needed direction on how to convey information on Ambriz’s death in the context of festival safety.

Both reports, compiled by CORD and COD feedback initiatives from involved students and Housing, Dining and Hospitality employees, such as Residential Assistants and Community Safety Officers, commended on-going educational campaigns about alcohol and drug safety. However, the reports concluded that despite these campaigns, too high a number of hospital transports, alcohol incidents and conduct cases were recorded, comparable to that of Sun God Festival 2013.

Additionally, both reports claim the campus was understaffed by hired safety personnel in residential areas during the festival and that some security staff were undertrained or acting inappropriately while on duty. In one instance, a male Staff Pro member “made a female student get on her knees and beg,” while others were allegedly engaging in alcohol consumption with residents and accepting bribes.

Poorly trained employees also proved to be problematic, according to the COD report, as some Staff Pro members could not respond to simple questions such as “How do I get into the festival?” The CORD report elaborated on the issue, citing lack of coordination and exhaustion as major factors in the overall ineffectiveness of Staff Pro workers.

Houston’s term as the interim VCSA will end Sept. 1, and he will be replaced by former University of Texas-Austin administrator Juan Gonzalez. It’s unclear if Houston, who headed this year’s Sun God Task Force for festival safety, will take any action before he returns to his full time position as Provost of Eleanor Roosevelt College in the fall.

Houston was not available for comment by this story’s posting time.

This article has been updated to correct the name of “Staff Pro.”

18 thoughts on “Administrative Reports Recommend Suspending Sun God 2015

  1. I am Bob "Hubba Jubba" Moss, physical education department faculty emeritus (1971-1992). It seems like it was only yesterday the Sun God was donated to the campus as a gift by a noted sculpture person. Also, just east of the Sun God two other innovative art forms appeared in the nearby cluster of trees. I am sure there are many other environmental enrichment art works across the campus. It is my hope the annual Sun God Festival can somehow continue under saner conduct conditions. I now reside in Arkansas and serve as a motivation lecturer, coach and mentor on the campus of the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff.

  2. As an Alumni (class of 13) who attended all sungods during my time and they were all safe and fun I would like to make some points:
    1- to those who are saying these things should happen off campus, I really suggest you reconsider your social life and probably see a psychologist, since it seems like you are holding to much anger within

    2-UCSD administration and student council both FAILED to provide the required safty. Its ironic huh? when you come out with rucshed decisions and cage people, you can not expect more. When you make radical decisions based on a conservative mind, a mess like this will happen. Previous sungods had more people attending, people could go to dorms with no striction and guess what none of the stuff like this happened.
    News flash to empty closed minds who made those decisions and now try to cancel sungod: nothing is a big deal until you make it a big deal, just like you did for this even this year, and when you limit and push people they’ll do what you are trying to stop them to do even more.

    3- UCSD administration took the whole sense of triton family and friendship out of sungod by not letting alumni and grad students attend. I remember that older students and the alumni in previous sungods sort of look out for their fellow tritons.

    4- Please stop talking about the death. Did an official report ever come out on what the direct cause of death was??? are we really sure it was related to sungod??
    even if it was….what does that have to do with cancelling sungod???
    during my senior year 4 phd students killed themselves in one year…so I guess we have to stop our graduate programs??? or one drunk student fell of rooftop of a parking structure…so lets get rid of all parking structure. people get real

    get some smart people and actually ask people who has been to sungod of opinions on how to do it safe and fun.

    nothing good comes out of radical and conservative minds

    Regards
    AR

  3. Folks should have that type of fun off campus. That Sun God festival is an insult to UCSD’s educational mission and good taste in general. By the way, socializing at Price Center on a Friday evening while you drink that disgusting boba thing is LAME.

    Get a life…. outside of UCSD.

  4. Sun God? Cool story. Kids, ask your parents for $100 to go rave at one of those weekly gigs down in San Diego (additional $20 for a happy ending). Too many wankers and social tramps in this campus. Viva la off campus life.

  5. The campus administration had failed at promoting a safer Sun God, there is no denying that fact. It is also true that a student passed away at some point during or after Sun God.

    These facts alone, whether related or not, should be enough reason to shut down Sun God for some time.

    The administration should look more into regulating Sun God in an effective way that agrees with a majority of the student body, not the Associated Students. The Associated Students alone cannot be enough to impose regulations for all students to comply to.

  6. I’d support it being canceled, I don’t enjoy the extent those morons went to restrict my freedom just for the sake of that dimwitted party. Checkpoints, wristbands just to get to your own apartments, no friends allowed even though they already canceled the guest wristbands… Seriously, how is it constitutional for a UC campus to foist wristbands on people and restrict the rights of adults in housing from having guests over for multiple days?

    Y’know, if UCSD wants students to have more of a social life they could just ease up a little with the sadistic professors. You don’t have to have Sun God to make us more social or fix the socially dead joke. Either way I won’t be living on campus to suffer the indignity of having my civil rights taken away during Sun God. lol

  7. With how incompetent and retarded the rules were living on campus during this years Sun God I wholeheartedly support cancelling it to be honest. I don't enjoy having the village turn into a kids camp where you either have a residential wristband or you can't live there without being hassled. Frankly it made me wish I wasn't living on campus at all, it's really offensive to have your personal (normally constitutionally protected) freedom restricted just because you're throwing a party.

    We're adults, or supposed to be. If too many of us are stupid idiots and the school can't handle the liability… At least that's not my fault. Just put the money towards scholarships or something more productive than a wild after-midterms party where a bunch of uptight "UC Socially Dead" students go get alcohol poisoning.

  8. Yeah they should cancel it; not just that, they should cancel Sungod forever.

    It’s success has gotten out of hand and this is where UCSD administration should do what they’re paid for. That is drawing the bright-line which this festival has crossed.

    I’m all for it being canceled and not returning ever again to spare the reputation of UCSD.

  9. This was meant as a reply to a comment, not the article. I’m not sure how to delete it. Apologies

  10. I’m curious to which “inane” policy forced a student to consume drugs in his own apartment through his own will? It’s great to point fingers and all but sometimes you have to take accountability for your own actions; we’re all adults here.

  11. Always suprises me how uninformed the Guardian is. Give them any kind of information and they love to sensationalize it to be the first to report on the story.

    Firstly, have some tact when discussing the death of a student. Slandering their name when discussing the future of Sun God is not okay.

    Secondly, these debrief notes / recommendations are not the deciding factors. These are merely suggestions to the Sun God Taskforce. Two of many reports sent to the Taskforce for consideration. The Final Report by the Taskforce is currently being created and will be sent to the Chancellor for consideration

    Finally, the Guardian… Go fuck yourself. You are a joke of a new source.

    1. LOL
      I fail to see the slander in the article, or really anything that said the notes were the deciding factor for the Sun God Task Force.
      Troll comment 0/10

  12. Can’t shut down a festival because of a death that they didn’t cause. Everyone who attended that school was old enough to understand the consequences of being under the influence. The school tried their best to inform everyone of being safe by putting up flyers and holding events solely for that purpose.

    Suspend the Council for even allowing Sun God to happen in the first place. They knew throwing a school wide festival isn’t going to be a sober environment. They knew that people were going to be crazy and act out. Yet they still make it happen, thinking that next year is going to be better; that there’s going to be less arrests and less drunk people.

    I’m not saying to ban Sun God because for one, I love it. It’s an awesome experience. Just like Coachella or any huge festivals, people from the city and representatives aren’t trying to ban those, so why ban Sun God?

    1. Coachella is good money for an economy like Indio’s. There is not a lot of development out there, so festivals help to diversify Indio’s economy. Sun God is a huge financial black hole, costing roughly $1 million to put on.

      Events like EDC and Coachella largely ignore deaths and incidents because nobody else cares, because organizers are private institutions who are beholden to nobody, and because the hype guarantees a fanatical following that attracts apologists to defend organizers at the slightest hint of bad press. The money is also too good to tell the event organizer to go elsewhere. Someone doesn’t like what you’re doing? No problem, just move somewhere else and threaten a potentially-lucrative source of revenue. This is not true of UCSD administration, which must be at least somewhat beholden to public opinion and has its reputation to consider. Yes, reputation is important for a school, because you need it to bring in dollars to fund campus projects, upkeep, and research.

  13. Let’s suspend the administration instead.

    Their inane policies killed the student, not Sun God Festival.

    Maybe when they start realizing the lives of students are more valuable than the public perception that they’re cracking down on alcohol use, they can go back to managing a university. Until then, they’re suspended.

    1. I’m curious to which “inane” policy forced a student to consume drugs in his own apartment through his own will? It’s great to point fingers and all but sometimes you have to take accountability for your own actions; we’re all adults here.

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