Caged In

SGF15 will implement a plethora of restrictions and regulations, further limiting students’ activities. The Ed Board weighs the effectiveness of these safety measures.

After last year’s incidents at the annual Sun God Festival, it was obvious that changes needed to be made to the festival in order for it to survive. This year, the Office of Student Conduct updated the policy and safety regulations for the festival, and the changes include items that will supposedly improve our Sun God Festival experience. Although the administration has a history of caging us into the event — which they are continuing to do this year — we commend them for trying to educate us about safe drinking instead of just telling us not to do it.

For several years, the administration has been trying to define the limits of an “improved Sun God experience.” From discussions about changing the day of the week the festival is held to threatening to cancel the event altogether, safety seems to be the priority for the administration. Last year, Eleanor Roosevelt College, the Village and I-House residents received wristbands proving that they were residents to make sure that non-residents weren’t partying in the area. This year, however, “only residents of their respective residential areas are allowed to be present in living spaces of those areas during specified time periods during the weekend of the Sun God Festival.” Like the move to RIMAC Field, the administration is again minimizing the space we can have fun in. Another addition — a no re-entry policy — shows how the administration is trying to sustain the festival in a way that takes away from what the festival used to be: a campuswide event. Note to administrators: Smaller space does not equal less activity or less trouble.

Furthermore, students who get in trouble between April 30 at 8 p.m. and May 4 at 8 a.m. are subject to further consequences, such as delayed graduation and not being allowed to attend future events. While the safety of students should be the most important thing, disciplining them for events that might not even pertain to the festival is not the answer. Essentially, all students will be required to walk on thin ice in the days leading up to the festival, lest they are caught doing something that administration constitutes as “pre-gaming.” These safety measures hide the fact that the festival has lost much of its splendor from the past. The changes occupy the discussions and shift the focus away from a Sun God Festival that used to take place all over campus and really brought the UCSD community together.

However, the administration took charge for past mistakes and shifted toward a more tolerant approach consisting of educating the student body about the dangers of alcohol and drug consumption. Drug amnesty drop-off stations will be available on location to encourage safe use. Also, on the official Sun God Festival website, the safety tips don’t advise students not to drink but advise them how to drink safely. The festival organizers finally recognize that drinking will always happen at such an event, and that the only way to control it is to raise awareness among students. The festival organizers also promised to be stricter in enforcing the rule that any student who appears to be under the influence will not be let in. Well, that’s easier said than done. Personally, we’d like to see what the administration is going to do about potentially hundreds of drunk college students wandering around campus. But, hey, if it educated us correctly, maybe it wouldn’t have that problem.

The student body will endure another Sun God Festival caged into RIMAC field. Hopefully students will get the hint that, unless we stop putting our lives in danger and begin following a plethora of rules, the administration is just going to bombard us with more rules and regulations — or discontinue the event altogether.