Monday, March 21, 2011

The university has canceled Fountain Day this year due to Kegs and Eggs. Then, in 2012 the large fountain is going to be renovated, so it may be a couple of years before there could be another Fountain Day. I think it is probably necessary to cancel it this year, even though it would have been the last one for a while. Not really as punishment - after all, the majority of students did not damage cars, mouth off to cops, litter the streets and throw televisions out of second story windows - but more as a message to the community that the university is serious about taking responsibility for the irresponsible behavior, even if it was off campus.

Fountain Day used to be a weekday - it was so out of control that there was no point in holding class. One year there were so many injuries and alcohol poisening incidents that required medical attention that they moved it to a Sunday and made it more "official." That was a big relief to me - I hated it when it was a Tuesday.

That semester - Spring 2004 - stands out for me, since my afternoon class was terrible. I couldn't stand it, was so happy when it was over. I resolved never to write a letter of recommendation for any student who was in the class, and surprise, surprise - no student ever asked me, so I didn't have the satisfaction of refusing.

This past Fall was the next time I had an afternoon class that I would consider "less successful" than usual. There were many better students than in Spring '04, but there was a large enough number of irritants to make me glad when the class ended.

I was also involved in a couple of other classes that Spring '04 semester that were large sections, team taught. There were some issues with them, but it would be hard to blame it all on students with less than serious attitudes. The team teaching structure, the large size were probably bigger factors.

Finally, the only other semester that stands out for me in that same way as Spring '04 was Spring 2006, although it was my Toleration class that time around. That semester, there was a large group of seniors within the class who did not take it seriously at all. It had the atmosphere of middle school.

I don't feel that way about this semester, so far it is going well, but the Fountain Day / Party School / Kegs and Eggs fiascos are making me wonder if there is a similarity between the time periods? (In attitude of students - they vote for the party school label, it isn't some sort of scientific survey, after all.)

Added: Bob thinks it is the bad economy. Our college experience was during the late 1970s, similar times to now in that sense. I think he may be right.

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