By Justin DiCharia
In January 1555, Queen Mary I of England began a Catholic inquisition of the Protestant faithful and burned 300 men and women at the stake by the time of her demise three years later.
LSU Greek students would have you think there is a burning stake at the heart of the Parade Ground, and University administration, in the tradition of Queen Mary, is chucking frat boys and sorority girls into the fire as kindling for the flames.
University officials announced plans to end the free-for-all alcohol policy next fall during football season, which previously allowed fraternities to set up camp on the Parade Ground and serve alcohol to their members and some guests.
Commence student meltdown.
The end of an era is near, and now it is only a matter of how the past traditions of tailgating on campus will transition. Personally, I empathize with the anger many students feel and disagree with the proposition of bringing in third-party vendors and ending drinking games.
LSU will start looking like the nearest evangelical Christian college, and might as well take “Louisiana” out of the school’s name, along with “State,” if budget cuts continue on their eight-year path of mayhem.
Strict on-campus controls on the distribution of alcohol may produce unintended effects, such as an increase in binge drinking off campus, drunk driving, and an increase in crime as freshmen and sophomores show up belligerently drunk with flasks concealed anywhere the underage tailgaters can shove it.
Sure, there are issues with the administration’s proposals, but I do not, in any way, empathize or sympathize with the cries of persecution and inflammatory rhetoric of students who, I’m sure, chastised the rise in student protests around the nation as college liberals needing to grow up.
Instead of discussing alternate options for what will most definitely be the end to current tailgating rules and regulations, students demonize LSU administrators and throw the words “tradition” and “culture” up in the air as if they are holy water that will stop the perceived fire.
Those simply don’t work on an administration using the guise of curbing under-age drinking. Comparisons to Jewish persecutions under the Nazi regime in World War II are normally poorly thought out, as well.
“They should have us wear yellow stars with our student orgs and tattoo our student numbers on our arms to ID us easier,” one student said.
And at Bogie’s Bar, according to a Twitter user who promptly took down the photo, this monstrous and inexcusable depiction of an LSU administrator showed up on a projector screen:
Another student claimed LSU hates Greeks, among other complaints during a Twitter tirade.
The sky will only fall if you let it, and marginalizing administrators is a quick way let God’s earthly scaffolding come plummeting down with the sky along with it. Rather, initiate conversations with student government and community leaders on how to make an alternate plan that would keep LSU tailgating alive.
For those who asked the question of whether the proposition to bring in vendors is for money or for safety, I’m just as curious.
LSU currently only holds a contract with one third-party vendor, and if more wanted in on the scheme, the vendors would have to apply and pay a fee to the university.
Despite this fishy financial opportunity, University officials can still claim their actions are in the interests of shutting down underage drinking, which make all attempts to point out long lines at a vendor’s stand and higher profit margins null and void.
As J.R. Ball of The Times Picayune | NOLA.com put it, LSU’s newest stunt looks more like a lawyer’s attempt to limit the school’s legal liability for underage drinking on school grounds, and the most likely option for next years is the BYOB proposal for 21-year-old students.
LSU administrators went pedal to the metal on a touchy topic and created a public relations nightmare, but nightmares aside, they sure as hell are not burning frat boys at the stake at the center of campus.
The proposed policies are shortsighted and possibly financially motivated, but Queen Mary is not knocking on Greek Row.
Civility will find the proper solutions to this soon-to-be cultural fiasco, not comparisons to Nazis. Alcoholic and Game Days are synonyms in South Louisiana, but when you’re going up against a gaggle of higher education officials and lawyers, the Louisiana Thesaurus won’t be of any help.
So don’t wave the flags of tradition, culture or hysteria. Instead, steady the hand, put on your thinking caps and sit down with students, alumni, community members and administrators to find a viable solution to LSU’s concerns with Saturdays on the outskirts of the Cathedral of College Football.
The writer is a senior in political communication at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication and a former columnist for LSU’s Daily Reveille.