PSafe Thinks Outside of the Box, Tour de Franzia Still Occurs
Throngs of students participated in the annual Tour de Franzia this year despite the administration’s efforts to ban the event and threats of severe consequences. The Tour took place this past Friday, with Public Safety (PSafe) reporting multiple alcohol violations, incidents of harassment, vandalism, and disorderly conduct. Five students were transported to the emergency room due to intoxication or injury, and the Middletown Police Department (MPD) arrested one student.
Tour de Franzia is an annual event where participants engage in a campus-wide scavenger hunt while consuming boxes of Franzia wine. Vice President for Student Affairs Mike Whaley encouraged students not to participate in the Tour through emails sent to the student body and parents in early March. Whaley said that, while fewer students took part in the Tour this year, he was still concerned by student behavior.
“From my perspective, the event was still very problematic,” Whaley wrote in an email to The Argus. “While Public Safety estimates that the number of students participating in the Tour dropped substantially this year, there was still significant high-risk drinking associated with the event. Also troubling was the aggressive and disrespectful behavior from student participants.”
Over the past semester, many emails were sent to students encouraging them not to participate in the event. Class Deans Louise Brown and Marina Melendez, as well as many other campus figures, were among those who attempted to dissuade students.
Whaley said that Assistant Vice President/Dean of Students Rick Culliton is still collecting the reports of student participants who will be referred for judicial action. He said that, once these reports and other information are finalized, the administration will consider new approaches for preventing student participation in the Tour in future years.
“Needless to say, I’m disappointed and continue to have deep concerns about the potential harms associated with the [Tour de Franzia],” he wrote. “Once the dust settles from this event and the end of the term, I’ll begin working with my team and with student leadership to look at options for the future.”