New Sun God Should Be a Thing of the Past

    Ben Holm/Guardian

    Apparently the 2007 Sun God Festival was kind of a fiasco. The number of drug- and alcohol-related arrests shot up at a staggering rate, roughly 100 attendees had their stomachs pumped and T.I. totally got the name of our school wrong.

    In response to these startling revelations, last year the A.S. Programming Office enacted a dramatic overhaul of the festival’s traditional format. The freewheeling, no-boundaries, all-campus love fest that students had come to regard as a thing of legend was abruptly replaced with a fenced-in, safety-first shell of its former self. They even turned off the fountain.

    Worthy of praise from Fischer Price, Tyco and the makers of sandboxes everywhere, the 2008 Sun God Festival was essentially a child-proofed reincarnation of its former glory. This tendency toward an overly cautious approach to “fun” is of course typical of university officials everywhere, who have a clear obligation to protect students.

    However, the extremes to which festival organizers took their safety crusade served only to undermine the tenets upon which this beautiful event was founded. Sun God is meant to be a day when students break free of their academically oriented UCSD archetypes and exercise the type of debauchery typically reserved for schools that actually have football teams.

    As the Sun God Student Forum approaches, festival organizers should seriously reconsider the event’s format. Although safety must indeed remain foremost, it is entirely possible to reach a balanced compromise that allows for student freedom, campus mobility and a preservation of traditional Sun God values while still preventing people from drinking themselves to death. Simply herding everyone into a contained area is taking the easy way out.

    Sun God existed in its traditional form for nearly 25 years without any problems on the scale of the event’s 2007 arrest spree, and 70 percent of those arrested that year were nonaffiliates. So why completely overhaul, and in the process totally destroy, a beloved campus tradition just because it got a little out of hand one year? As the old legal adage goes, hard cases make bad laws. A.S. Programming must realize that the exception should never define the rule.

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