This past weekend, the University of Connecticut hosted its annual Spring Weekend. What was once a chaotic weekend, characterized by a massive influx of individuals from beyond Storrs and the UConn community, has become an increasingly tame four-day stretch.
Since being cancelled in 2011, Spring Weekend has evolved into a tightly controlled weekend of festivities. As another Spring Weekend has come and gone without a notable incident of disorder, it is time for UConn to lessen restrictions so that students can enjoy the weekend as the pre-finals relaxation it was designed to be.
A report from the Daily Campus’ Jon Hull detailed the more than 20-year history of Spring Weekend in Storrs.
After the tragic death of a UConn student in 2010, the administration and authorities decided to curtail the party atmosphere and non-student visitations for Spring Weekend 2011. Instead of staying in Storrs, many students now travel home for Spring Weekend, as even average weekend social gatherings come under increased scrutiny during this annual event.
Hull quoted UConn Deputy Police Chief Hans Rhynhart as saying the aim for 2011 and beyond was to make “UConn’s campus less attractive to non-UConn students because the majority of arrests were people not affiliated with the university.”
Through various means, such as wrist bands and police checkpoints, the university has succeeded in this goal. Now that several Spring Weekend’s have passed without incident, the university has begun to slowly lessen restrictions.
The Daily Campus report noted relaxations in restrictions over the past two years, with the 2015 Spring Weekend featuring live entertainment, the first since 2010 to do so. Further, “students from UConn’s regional campuses were allowed to visit the Storrs campus as guests,” in 2016, though non-UConn students were still barred.
While UConn and President Susan Herbst should strive to make the university as a safe a place as possible, the school must maintain their commitment to lessening restrictions. While it is understandable for the university to treat potential large-scale gatherings with added caution, Spring Weekend must remain a weekend to pause before the finals period begins. Intense restrictions on movement and visitation detract from this purpose.
In the future, the university should continue in seeking ways to lessen restrictions, and possibly look for a way to include students in suggestions. The entire feel of Spring Weekend has changed from the pre-2011 days. Students understand the gravity of the situation, but also should be afforded a more relaxed weekend, especially when considering the good record established over the past few years.