February 12, 2002

Debate Over Slope Day Regulation Continues

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You can lead Cornell students to Libe Slope, but you can’t keep them from drinking. This seems to be the general opinion of Cornell undergraduates in reference to the Slope Day Steering Committee and its efforts to prevent substance-abuse related infractions at the end of the semester festival.

Traditionally, students have enjoyed a Slope Day relatively unregulated by Cornell faculty and administration.

While students did not unanimously reject the efforts of the safety-concerned steering committee, most agreed that any provisions made by the committee will be made in vain. Since many students drink on Slope Day, many feel it will be difficult to create provisions limiting any aspect of this tradition.

“I don’t think [the limitations] will work because it is such an entrenched tradition at Cornell that, regardless of provisions, the students will find a way to make Slope Day how they want it to be,” said Angela Herrera ’03.

Others argued that implementing effective Slope Day restrictions involves such drastic measures that students would be left with a Slope Day that was worse than before.

“The only way you can [effectively] stop drug consumption is to close the bathrooms,” said Rachel Wilson ’03.

Comprised of University students and administrators, President Hunter R. Rawlings III formed the committee to try to prevent dangers of substance abuse that Slope Day has seen in the past.

Since it was formed, the committee has recommended the issuance of “under 21” and “over 21” wrist bands to enforce drinking laws. The steering committee has also contemplated entirely eliminating hard alcohol and drugs from the slope and has considered fencing off areas designated for drinking so that the rest of the slope can remain dry.

Regardless of whether or not any provisions will succeed in limiting drug and alcohol abuse, many students adamantly defended a Slope Day tradition free from administrative authority as an integral part of Cornell student life.

“It sucks,” said Matt Naidorf ’04. “It’ll take away from the enthusiasm that the students generate surrounding Slope Day and a lot of the fun that students have come to expect from the day.”

However, some students supported the steering committee’s efforts to protect Slope Day participants from the health risks of excessive substance consumption. While they agreed that any provisions made by the committee will be difficult to implement, they also argued that Cornell cannot condone underage alcohol and drug consumption on the slope.

“I think [implementing regulations] is a good idea,” said Adam Collicelli ’04. “I just don’t know how much they can do … the momentum [of Slope Day] has blown up so much.”

Yesterday, for the first time, the committee opened its discussions to the entire Cornell student body. The forum will meet again this evening from 7:30 to 8:30 in 165 McGraw Hall to continue the Slope Day debate.

Archived article by Ellen Miller