Admin’s Sun God Overhaul Would Be Overkill

    The personality of Sun God — the day’s very core — is intangibly charming.
    God willing, the event’s haloed buzz will be as vibrant, buoyant and alive in
    five years as it is today. The hope is to see tradition relived: We were all
    fountain frolickers, astrojumpers or tailgaters at one point in our Triton
    lives. Sun God breeds campus kinship.A gushy sentiment? Sure. A crucial part of collegiate life? Hell yes.

    A phalanx of administrative departments were tasked with the
    “re-evaluation” of Sun God, the most specific — and least-alarming — term that
    the authors of Sun God 2008 Planning Report are using to define their work.

    Only a tweaking, they say, is needed to make Sun God a safer, smoother and
    more efficient undertaking. Students rarely realize the colossal size of the
    day-long event, which draws more than just big-name musicians to campus; Sun
    God brings with it a whole lot of non-UCSD students, event sponsors and dollar
    power. From that standpoint, it is logical to assess the event’s largest faults
    before they reach their tipping point. Chancellor Marye Anne Fox’s comments on
    Sun God earlier this year were also cautious; she said she hoped to boost
    “safety” while preserving the event’s spirit. There isn’t a sea change in the
    works here, administrators say, only fine-tuned adjustments for security’s
    sake.

    But the report’s gaping breadth suggests otherwise. The 22-page study
    delves into Sun God’s innards,
    recommending a flurry of “improvements”: Tighter controls over the
    Junkyard Derby, heightened security at student-heavy locations, a keener eye on
    all things alcohol-related and heavier oversight of Round Table Pizza are just
    a few of the report’s suggestions. The execution is reminiscent of the
    Undergraduate Student Experience Report, which tackled another heavily
    multi-faceted issue: student life. But nebulous questions like “what’s wrong
    with student life?” produce a need for exhaustive reassessment; events like Sun
    God should have specific problems to solve.

    A Triton’s degree of alarm should be based on this report’s status: How
    many of these “suggestions” will actually be implemented? The study will birth
    a number of offshoot committees made of relevant “campus partners,” ranging
    from the UCSD Police Department to Student Health Services. If those committees
    hold fast to A.S. Programming-endorsed proposals, Sun God is in for a sweeping
    makeover. (Editor’s note: In the report, any noncontested recommendation is
    deemed as supported by programming officials.)

    That’s not to say the programming department isn’t aligned with students’
    mindsets. The office rightfully fights the report’s most absurd proposals,
    which include terminating nonaffiliate ticket sales and moving the concert to a
    Saturday. They smartly support the commonsense advisements, including prior
    testing of ticket-related equipment and increasing the number of radios for
    event staff.

    Read the Report

    But there are still many parts of the report that will undoubtedly cramp a
    student’s Sun God experience. For example, the report’s authors recommend a
    shorter transition between daytime and nighttime activities (A.S. Programming abstained
    from commenting on that advice). The authors cited safety concerns as their
    motivation, saying that students occupy themselves during that time with such
    unsavory activities as “partying” and “playing in the fountain.” God forbid.

    If protecting students were the initial goal, wouldn’t security
    alterations — and that alone — be enough to appease worried administrators? Why
    the wide, scattershot approach to Sun God assessment?

    As they address these recommendations, the steering committees should first
    draw the line between safety and boredom. Maintaining the event’s all-campus,
    free-spirited ambiance should be quintessential when considering any change to
    Sun God.

    This progress of this issue will prove divisive: Administrators will push
    every safety concern and Sun God devotees will push back. Middle ground will be
    hard to find. Students should watch closely: This is your event, so treat it as
    such. Administrators will undoubtedly cut up, divide and transform the event if
    there is no push for student input.

    In many ways, Sun God is UCSD. That single day embodies this university’s
    most colorful parts — all-out hijinks, fun and, most importantly, camaraderie.
    As such, the committees should handle the report with kid gloves when
    considering potential changes. Hopefully, the report’s net effect yields
    modifications that establish a safer environment for a better-run concert, but
    only minimally impact the event’s longstanding trademark of being the ultimate
    experience for the student community .

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