The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

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A very merry Chrismukkah
Leah Schiffer, Senior Staff Writer • December 4, 2023

    ‘Righteous’ Sun God Reforms Only Cosmetic

    (Christina Auschana/Guardian)

    ON CAMPUS — I can see May 16 now: The disenchanted Sun God
    Festival Planning Committee’s respectable hopes of altering the festival’s
    image into that of an event for the UCSD family will gradually be shattered by
    boisterous drunk students and nonaffiliates as the day passes. Sure, the goal
    of avoiding an exodus of students bottlenecking narrow exits may be
    accomplished, but the stark reality that the festival has been engraved in
    students’ minds as the day to gorge themselves on alcohol and partake in other
    illicit activities will become irrefutably evident.

    Since early October, the planning committee, composed of
    students, staff and UC security, has met periodically in an attempt to prevent
    some of the problems that plagued last year’s festival caused the event to be
    deemed a complete disaster. After receiving complaints ranging from a lack of
    sufficient food and water to student grievances against the use of undercover
    police, the committee gathered these criticisms to compile a Sun God Planning
    Report, which listed both complaints and suggestions about how to amend the

    Though the list of goals and recommendation seemed endless,
    most of the material revolved around one pressing issue: The campus should
    create a Sun God Festival more oriented around the UCSD community. For example,
    students have traditionally thought of Sun God as a day to play hooky in order
    to get so drunk that the concert portion of the day becomes an obscure memory.
    However, in their attempt to make Sun God a euphoric experience through illicit
    means, students are agitating the university by getting arrested and thus,
    tarnishing the reputation of Sun God and UCSD.

    This cause and effect was illustrated by more than 355 arrests
    on campus throughout the day of the festival last year. How does the planning
    committee attempt to solve this? Uniformed officers from other universities
    will be pooled together in order to act as surrogates for undercover police and
    local volunteers, who made up the majority of the policing force last year.
    Uniformed police were requested this year because they make their presence
    clear. The utter audacity it takes to reform such a long-standing image is
    praiseworthy, but one can immediately understand how the individual responsible
    for this idea was oblivious to the foreseeable blatant holes in this logic. By
    employing officers who will arrest a fewer number of students, which seems to
    be the only logical reason different police offers were hired, it only seems
    reasonable to assume there will be even more intoxicated people at the

    Thus, the change will only be cosmetic because it simply
    evades the issue at hand. While statistically, this year will be called a
    success since fewer people are expected to be arrested, future festivals may
    encourage more students to get drunk since the risk of getting caught will have
    diminished greatly with student-friendly cops.

    Another major reformation will be in the entrance setup,
    which also poses ways for students to sidestep the righteous goals the planning
    committee has set. Instead of using ID scanners, students will only need their
    ID cards and a wristband, which will be distributed a few days before the
    festival for both entry and re-entry (yes, the school decided to rescind the no
    re-entry rule). These changes may seem convenient, but as pessimistic as it may
    sound, giving students the right to come and go as they please throughout the
    day seems like a marvelous opportunity for students to go get drunk, sober up
    and then go get even more drunk in their dorms to repeat the intoxicated cycle.
    Thus, like the new security plans, the re-entry policy will be another
    superficial alteration to Sun God that may actually encourage a diametrically
    opposite outcome from what the planning committee originally hoped — there
    won’t be less drunkards, just less causing trouble or getting caught.

    Now, I would be willing to forgive these futile, yet
    virtuous, attempts to revamp Sun God, but after hearing about a festival budget
    that surpasses last year’s — totaling up to $400,000 — and the lineup (which is
    made up of artists who are seldom considered to be in vogue, except among
    middle schoolers), the likelihood of redemption is slim to none. Not only could
    the school have made more substantial changes with a $400,000 budget, such as
    the artist selection, but also, the question of where the university’s
    priorities are comes to mind. Instead of spending money on one day, which, in
    all likelihood, will not be remembered by the students, many of whom will be
    inebriated, the university should spend the money on things that are beneficial
    to students, such as parking spaces, smaller classes and more classes, to name
    a few.

    While the planning committee’s efforts should be extolled,
    the festival, which has been embraced by students as a “binge-all-you-want”
    day, will continue to hold this reputation until one of two things occurs.
    First, the university could undergo a “Sun God culture cleansing” by hiring the
    most authoritarian police force it can find to arrest everyone who has even a
    whiff of alcohol on their breath in order to scare students from drinking,
    which will also subsequently have the effect of eliminating all hype and
    anticipation students have for the festival. Or two, (my personal favorite) the
    university could conduct more efforts to teach students how to approach the act
    of drinking and its relationship to the festival. In other words, UCSD should
    try to educate students about the harmful effects of drinking and why it should
    only be done in moderation. Until one of these two things occurs, students will
    be impervious to the tweaks the planning committee may throw at them in order
    to force them into drinking less. Instead, the tweaks will be deflected as
    cosmetic changes, while the core of Sun God will revolve around taking shots
    and getting high.

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