In the words of the Beastie Boys, “You gotta fight for your right to party.” That’s exactly what the masses discussed tonight at the Student Association general assembly meeting.
“I think this is another example of how the administration doesn’t consider the student voice when making decisions,” said SA presidential candidate Hari Iyer in response to the reinstatement of classes during SU Showcase, the academic fair more commonly known as “Mayfest” after the Euclid Avenue block party with which it coincides.
But instead of taking the non-conflict approach to regaining the five-year-old event, Iyer is planning to fight back.
“We need to make this Friday a day of protest,” he said. “This is an official statement that this Friday we will not go to class and we will do exactly what we do on this day that was just taken away from us.” In other words, Iyer wants to throw a party on Euclid in the style of Mayfest to show the school that SU won’t simply react like peaceful, civilized college students. It remains to be seen exactly how this plan will affect his run for the presidency.
But some students did remain civilized in both the general assembly and the gallery, and spoke out against Iyer’s plan of action. Current SA Vice President Erik Bortz emphasized the need for students to come together as one body and demand that the administration plan something that incorporates both the students’ wishes and the university’s wants.
“Fighting divisiveness with divisiveness will not work,” he said in response to the idea of protest. He also brought up the fact that Greek or Treat – a Pan-Hellenic event which involves inner-city Syracuse children going from house to house on Walnut Avenue trick-or-treating – is slated for this Friday, the same day as Iyer’s planned protest.
“We will sign the petitions, we will move forward, we will meet with admins, and we will have our voices heard,” he said, adding that he does not think that protesting would be a good idea, especially with so many children around.
SA President Larry Seivert brought up another idea. Seivert has planned a discussion with members of the administration (also scheduled for Friday), and at tonight’s meeting, he invited any interested students to join him. In the discussion, he hopes to bring up the ideas generated at tonight’s meeting. While some students argued for two separate days to encompass both the Mayfest party and SU Showcase, others felt that calling for two days would be too much to ask of the administration and that students should fight just to get that one joint day back.
Since there were no major issues or problems at last year’s Mayfest parties, students suggested to Seivert that SA not change their overall proposition for SU Showcase/Mayfest at Friday’s discussion. Rather, students felt there were simply some measures to add to it. Among the list of suggested additions for more administration-friendly festivities:
- Have water bottles, safety provisions and entertainment.
- Preserve the day off; separate the academic and social aspects.
- Civil disobedience (petitions, etc.).
- Keep better control of litter and clean-up after Mayfest parties.
- Get support from local retail, restaurants and student organizations.
- Have academics in the morning and parties in the afternoon.
- Turn the day into a philanthropic event (give money to the community that is raised through SU Showcase).
- Promote the academic part more and get more students to participate if they are allowed to have parties.
- Incorporate some kind of carnival.
Despite the opposition from the crowd and the evident scheduling conflicts with Greek-or-Treat and the Mayfest discussion, Iyer still plans to exercise his right to demonstrate.
“The protest is still on,” he said. “I am not discouraged at all.”