The recent turmoil on campus about the date of this year’s Spring Fling, exemplified by a March 2 Wespeak rebuking the University for its poor planning, has for the most part been a lot of finger-pointing with no clear suggestions. As the Wespeak, which was signed by over 130 students, stated, the scheduling of the annual end-of-the-year concert for the same day as the one-year anniversary of Johanna Justin-Jinich ’10’s murder was clearly an appalling mistake. However, trying to find the party responsible for the error is not constructive—with only two months until Spring Fling, we need a solution.
Many students believe, as the Wespeak said, that Spring Fling should have been moved to a different date. But how can that be argued when every party involved in the planning has made it clear that this is no longer an option? The time has passed for suggesting that we mourn Johanna on May 6 and move the drunken festivities of Spring Fling to another day—we now face a straightforward decision: to continue Spring Fling as planned, on the anniversary of Johanna’s death, or to cancel it.
We believe that the right option is canceling Spring Fling. Given the fact that changing the date of the concert is not possible, the only other way to separate the events would be to move the commemoration of Johanna to another day, a solution that is simply unacceptable. Trying to honor Johanna on any day other than the anniversary of her death would, in reality, be dishonoring her. Valuing our right to Spring Fling over our commitment to remember and mourn a former student is not justifiable.
Currently, the administration has plans to honor Johanna with a “Potluck Dessert Night” on May 5 and by turning Russell House into a space for community members to commemorate Johanna on May 6. But remembering Johanna shouldn’t be an activity we squeeze in before drinking and dancing on the hill. It shouldn’t be limited to one building, in which those who are mourning escape, as the rest of campus becomes one giant party. Our whole campus should be reserved for remembering Johanna for the entire day, something which is simply not possible to do while allowing Spring Fling to take place.
We realize that suggesting Spring Fling be cancelled for the second year in a row is not likely to make us popular. However, we agree with the Wespeak writers that the fact that students have not been given a chance to voice opposition to the Spring Fling plans is unfair. Thus, we propose that the student body be given a vote: let us choose how best to straighten out this tangled error. We can’t go back in time and change the date booked for Spring Fling, but we can fight to take the decision into our own hands.