Stop holding onto outdated traditions

With 175 years under its belt, Queen’s is nationally recognized for its long-lasting traditions and spirited student body. But many of the traditions that students cling to no longer serve a purpose. 

In their prime, Queen’s traditions were fueled by passion and excitement, creating a sense of togetherness on campus but only within very select groups. They originated in a very different time, when attitudes towards what was appropriate behavior were vastly different. 

But, for better or worse, factors like the University’s increasingly corporate and risk-averse attitude as well as their efforts to appeal to a wider demographic of students have drastically changed the campus landscape — proving many traditions obsolete, offensive and some even dangerous. 

As campuses have become increasingly aware of the detrimental impacts of hazing, alcohol and rape culture in recent years, some of the traditions students held dear have been cleaned up. However, some have been dragged along, changing at their core, but continued in a poor effort to prove they still have value.  

Grease Pole has become increasingly exclusive, when it was once meant to bring upper-year students and frosh together. Commerce Frosh Week is almost unrecognizable after undergoing probation. Arts and Science Frosh Week, once known for its excessive drinking and crude chants, has become the tamest of them all. 

Most recently the Homecoming halftime alumni parade — including the inevitable student field rush — was cancelled. Regardless of who made the decision and why, from a student safety standpoint, the decision fits the trends of other schools across North America who’ve been trying to get rid of the tradition as well.

While some say the cancellation of the half time parade takes away from the school spirit, consider this — Queen’s students as a whole haven’t cared about their football team in years. There’s no use in continuing a tradition based on enthusiasm for a sports team that students no longer have, especially when safety concerns have stripped it of its original form. 

There are many other worthwhile traditions at this historic school that get overlooked. Queen’s is the only Canadian university to have a student rector. Prior to recent changes, Queen’s was unique from most other universities in having a non-academic discipline system overseen by its student body. The AMS student government, the CFRC radio station and The Journal itself are some of the oldest campus establishments of their kind in North America. 

These are traditions worth fighting for — traditions that still serve a greater purpose to the student body beyond having a long legacy.

It’s time to let go of the traditions that no longer serve a purpose so that new traditions, that create something positive on campus, like ReUnion St. Festival and QPOP!, can continue to grow. 

Embrace and foster the traditions that truly make Queen’s special, not the ones that are celebrated because you’re simply told ‘its tradition’.

Jacob is one of The Journal’s Editors in Chief. He’s a fourth-year English major.

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