February 22, 2002

Slope Day Changes Accepted

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President Hunter R. Rawlings III has approved the preliminary recommendations for prospective changes to Slope Day submitted by the Slope Day Steering Committee. In a letter to Dean of Student Kent L. Hubbell ’69, Rawlings approved the main recommendation, which was to prohibit hard alcohol and bottles on the slope, including glass, breakable, and unlabeled containers. According to Hubbell, support for the idea was almost unanimous, and there was discussion about methods for limiting soft alcohol as well.

“The University wants to see Slope Day as a great celebration. It is certainly not desirous to have a situation where students are endangering themselves,” said Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations.

“The ban on hard alcohol is the biggest thing that students will have to give up,” said Uzo Asonye ’02, Student Assembly (S.A.) president and member of the Slope Day Steering Committee.

Rawlings also endorsed the proposition of returning to the “great feast.” The event, which was a part of Slope Day in the late 1970s, was a barbecue and involved the distribution of alcohol. However, Cornell Dining would staff such an event this year and would not distribute alcohol, according to Hubbell.

“We would really like to keep this a ‘bring-your-own-beverage’ event,” Hubbell said, referring to the majority opinion of the committee.

One major issue still uncertain is how the committee will address the possibility that students will turn to pre-parties at fraternities and sororities to consume more alcohol.

“We do need to make sure that students drink safely everywhere on campus,” Hubbell said.

One alternative suggested was to provide limited catering to fraternity and sorority parties to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed by students.

A third recommendation was a provision to allow a disc jockey to play music on the slope, most likely during the afternoon hours. The S.A. has expressed interest in sponsoring a D.J., according to Asonye, but budget constraints may prevent the S.A. from doing so.

However, there were some suggestions made by the committee that were not met with enthusiasm, such as fencing in the slope and providing check points. Fencing the slope in would “change the nature of sponsorship of the event from the students to the University,” Rawlings stated in the letter.

“I’m happy that it looks like we’re going to get rid of the fence and the check points,” said Asonye. He attributed the opposition to the fence to the students who voiced their opinions in two open forums hosted by the steering committee earlier this month.

Steering committee members have not completely abandoned the idea. However, they have suggested enlisting more police and volunteer staff at key entry points to the slope to enforce rules and handle any problems that may arise.

The committee discussed the possibility of tents at main entries that would limit the flow of people into the area.

Rawlings also asked that the committee consider the timing of the events on the last day of classes. Committee members have suggested sponsoring class celebrations as alternatives to drinking on the slope. Two proposals included holding a senior class party where alcohol would be provided, or hosting a breakfast for freshman to celebrate their last week on North Campus.

The Slope Day Steering Committee plans to meet next week to deliberate on what final recommendations it will make to address these changes and other unresolved issues.

Rawlings also encouraged the committee to “continue its deliberations concerning the type and amount of alcohol that will be permitted on the slope to be sure that all that is reasonable is being done to make this event as safe as possible.”

“We’re trying to get feedback, and we’re trying to make it safer, so hopefully everything will work out,” said Asonye.

Archived article by Mackenzie Damon