Western USC’s homecoming ideas choose distraction over safety


No amount of zip lines and hot air balloons are going to fix a pervasive drinking culture.

Last week, The Western Gazette reported that the USC (University Students’ Council) executives proposed several adventurous ideas, including hot air balloons, zip lining, and a carnival, to distract students from drinking on their original Homecoming weekend, the official Homecoming having been rescheduled for the following month.

Both the initial rescheduling of Homecoming festivities and the USC’s enthusiastic plans to distract drunk students like a baby with candy fall in the same vein — inconvenient and costly tactics that fail to address the real problem.

Western first decided to reschedule Homecoming to fall during midterms in the hopes that “Western students and students coming from other universities will be busy with academics including assignments and midterms.”

Given some students’ plans to party anyways, changing the date did nothing except paint all students with the same brush. Punishing all students by changing the date, instead of promoting safe drinking for those who drink excessively makes the assumption that all students are inebriated, irresponsible youth.

Regardless of an expensive distraction, the reality is inevitable — students are still going to drink.

The culture of unsafe drinking that saturates university campuses isn’t going to be solved by putting students on a time-out or distracting them with shiny new toys. The issue is much bigger than damage to property or an inconvenience to the city — it’s about student safety.

Neither the University or its student government seem to understand that.

The University’s initial rescheduling of Homecoming seems to have been an impulsive decision rather than a thoroughly thought-out one. On the other hand, the USC’s recommendations to prevent an inevitable party lacks logic and foresight.

How they’d ensure drunk students aren’t zip lining through the university or why they couldn’t spend the same extravagant amount of money on more security and first aid during the festivities are questions worth asking. 

Impulsive decisions lacking student input — especially ones that fail to speak to the core issues at hand — are bound to stir retaliation and resentment.

Without any measures to address the drinking culture at the core of all of this, Western and its student government should prepare for their distraction efforts to eventually deflate.

Journal Editorial Board 

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