Note: In a widely circulated email, the Concert Committee was named as a group of students involved in planning of Spring Fling. It has come to our attention that it is not the Concert Committee, but the Social Committee who is involved in planning Spring Fling. We extend our sincere apology to the Concert Committee for this mistake. According to a representative from the Social Committee, the registrar selected the date for Spring Fling, though it is important to acknowledge that many parties are involved in planning the event.
To members of the Wesleyan Community:
The university has made an egregious choice in the planning of 2010’s Spring Fling. Spring Fling has been scheduled for May 6th, 2010, the one-year anniversary of the murder of Johanna Justin-Jinich, class of 2010. While those responsible for scheduling and planning Spring Fling were aware that May 6th was the anniversary of Johanna’s death, they did not make arrangements to hold Spring Fling on another day.
We, the undersigned, would like to assert our anger and sadness that this decision has gone forward. We believe that the student body has been put in the unreasonable position of having to choose between a day of mourning or reflection and a day of celebration. Those students who were closest to Johanna will feel the ramifications of this decision most acutely, some to the extent of having to leave campus on a day they should be able to expect the support of the Wesleyan community.
While celebration and remembrance do not necessarily have to be separate, the university has deprived students of the opportunity to mourn as they see fit. Spring Fling is a loud, centrally-located, campus-wide event, which, because of the noise and activity it creates, is impossible to avoid. Students who are interested in attending Spring Fling will be put in the uncomfortable position of celebrating at the inconvenience of their peers. Further, students will not be fully available to each other throughout the day for support.
While not all students knew or felt personally close to Johanna, many of us were affected by her murder. May 6th marks the loss of a member of our small community as well as the experience of threats against the entire campus. Johanna’s alleged murderer targeted her because she was both Jewish and a woman, thus her death brought up concerns specifically for many students who identify as women and members of the Jewish community on campus, as well as those who have experienced violence in the past.
The university has proposed a memorial ceremony on the morning of May 6th, and has proposed that Spring Fling be moved to 2:30 pm. This gesture is not enough. Students cannot be expected to put their grief on hold after a memorial in the morning.
The university’s actions were unreasonable and cannot be repeated. In such matters, we expect the university to act on behalf of all of its students as a community. On May 6th, we should be able to mourn and celebrate together without being asked to choose between the two.