Students deserve a genuine Homecoming

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Illustration by Henry Liu

The University Council’s recent decision to recommend the restoration of Homecoming is long overdue. It indicates an important shift in the University’s treatment of its students.

Woolf’s decision to extend Homecoming’s cancellation until 2014 in 2010 set a patronizing tone, sending a message to students that they weren’t to be trusted. Instead of trying to negotiate with students and community members off the bat, the University acted like a parent punishing a naughty child by indefinitely lengthening the postponement without engaging in any sort of negotiation.

It now rests in the hands of senior administrators and Principal Woolf to give the final go-ahead and decide on what the new Homecoming might look like or whether it will return at all.

The Council’s vote is a teaser to students who expect a return of the original Homecoming, but may instead get a rebranded, reworked and ultimately lacklustre version.

Renaming the event ‘Fall Reunion’ is unlikely to change the way it’s seen by alumni. But, if the university’s senior administrators take stronger measures to mitigate the street party and the revelry surrounding the event, they may risk altogether eliminating the essence of Homecoming that is so well-loved and missed by students and alumni.

The administration needs to trust that students and alumni alike will realize the consequences of their actions and behave in an appropriate fashion during future homecomings.

Students shouldn’t have to be babied with a watered-down version of Homecoming — they deserve to have the most missed parts of the celebration such as the football game, the parade and the festivities surrounding the event restored.

Alternatives to the street party, such as sanctioned events at Alfie’s, have the potential to be successful if marked appropriately. The University can also adopt previously used measures such as establishing safe drinking tents with volunteers on hand giving out water and red cups to prevent broken bottles to maintain a safe environment.

In deciding whether to follow the Council’s recommendation, and potentially reinstitute Homecoming, senior administrators should be mindful of what Homecoming means to students and alumni.

We’ll now encounter the first graduating class that has yet to experience a true homecoming. We’ve already endured a five-year wait — let’s make sure that the return of Homecoming means that the most important and beloved parts of the event aren’t forgotten.

— Journal Editorial Board

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