Sun God Policy Changes Need Student Support

Last quarter, the Guardian Editorial Board correctly predicted that eliminating student guest tickets alongside increasing safety measures would lead to a funding gap for the Sun God Festival’s budget.

For this reason, among others, we were originally against the idea of prohibiting guest ticket sales. We now see that if the no-guest policy was the deal breaker for Sun God to happen in 2014, it’s a no brainer: We’d rather tell our buddies at Santa Barbara and Los Angeles that we’d rather have them stay home for the weekend than us not have a Sun God Festival at all.

However, we’re still firm on the idea that the policy alone won’t be effective in changing the drinking culture that surrounds Sun God. Though the festival will likely see some major policy changes this year, students should do their part and support efforts to change Sun God if they want to see the festival remain a lasting UCSD tradition.

In addition to the end of revenue from guest tickets, the 2014 festival will have a higher price tag to implement increased security and police presence on campus on the day of the event. While Interim Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Alan Houston has pledged a one-time allocation of $165,000 to make up for some of this loss of revenue, it’s imperative that A.S. Concerts and Events finds a more sustainable source of funding for the years to come. This source of new funding could come by way of increasing sponsorship for the event, creating a referendum to modestly increase student fees to directly fund the festival or charging an entrance fee for students who choose to attend Sun God. Whatever the method, ASCE will need to explore new ways to make ends meet, and students will need to be receptive and responsive to these changes.

The Sun God Festival has been a tradition for 31 years, but the last few years have gotten increasingly out of hand. UCSD students know that guests weren’t the only ones who pushed their limits last year and that we can still get hammered before the festival this year without them. The culture of Sun God is precisely the root of much of our health and safety problems and without student support, it’ll be unlikely that these problems will just go away. Students can help each other out by encouraging one another to practice safer drinking and less drug abuse. Increased medical visits and exhausted hospital resources due to UCSD students are not things we want to see in any headlines this spring.

This year’s festival will likely serve as a litmus test to see if our school can have a safe Sun God and will determine whether future festivals are even in the question. ASCE has made it clear that Sun God 2014 was almost cancelled altogether; if we want to continue having Sun God festivals in the years to come, it’s not only up to ASCE to make things happen.

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