Pose solutions to save University's tradition
The undergraduate population at the University received devastating news Tuesday from President Richard L. McCormick announcing that because of security issues, Rutgersfest, a University tradition, will be cancelled indefinitely. This spurred University students to immediately post protest statuses and create Facebook pages like "Ragefest 2012" and "Save Rutgersfest," where thousands of students are planning to party the same way but without the concert portion.
While I think McCormick is right to be concerned for our students' safety, I think there is a way to maintain this tradition and keep our students safe.
First, let us see why we want to save Rutgersfest, since there are those who say it's not worth having. Rutgersfest originated as a celebration marking the end of the semester for all and for some, the end of their undergraduate career. The Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) brings artists that many in the University would like to see but maybe cannot afford to pay for one, thus providing a great service to the student population. Finally, just like Rutgers Day, it is a day in which we celebrate being Scarlet Knights and our impressive school spirit.
With all of these great reasons to have Rutgersfest, let us now examine what brought about McCormick's decision to cancel it. Following the concert, there were many fights and a few shootings on campus, which are obviously a threat to our campus, but as many before me have noted: No University student was involved.
So there are two main concerns: security and non-University affiliates attending our festival. We must address these two concerns so that Rutgersfest happens again. Here is what I think is a feasible, safe and fun solution to preserve this annual tradition.
Let's have Rutgersfest at the University's football stadium to solve the issues of outsiders and security. If we follow the system that we use for the football games where IDs are checked at the entrance and tickets are given on a first-come, first-served basis, we can filter those who come in without excluding friends of University students. Each student should be allowed something like two guests for which they are responsible. Since the field is enclosed and there are assigned entrance gates, we can have security checks with metal detectors and/or wands to check people and avoid the entrance of any weapons.
I know you're thinking, "Well, the problems happened at the parties after Rutgersfest." I agree. That is why I also suggest we have the concert conclude late at night so that the event isn't over until around midnight. Why? Because I'm sure there will be after-parties, but the exclusion of non-University affiliated people would drastically decrease the amount of people who show up around here that night. The late ending of the concert would surely decrease the amount of activity on campus or at least the amount of time, since most people would leave shortly after the concert. This also provides an opportunity for raising revenue, since our own school's vendors can set up inside Rutgers Stadium and sell food, apparel and whatever else the University desires.
I am serious about preserving this tradition. Any concerns you have would be gladly appreciated, since I can then address them and incorporate them in the solution. That way, when this is all presented to McCormick, there are no flaws, and he finds our solution convincing enough to save Rutgersfest.
Jorge Casalins is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science with a minor in philosophy.
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