The Provost’s not-so-subtle attempts at making this an alcohol-free Georgetown Day

Georgetown Day 2009, brought to you by the Temperance Movement

The typical understanding of Georgetown Day is that it goes along with sobriety in the same way oil goes along with water, peace goes along with the Middle East or Leo’s goes along with satisfying meals. In short: they’re mutually exclusive.

So the announcements that have been sent out about Georgetown Day by Provost James O’Donnell have been puzzlingly somber. The first announcement, sent out Monday, made it seem like some pious Catholic festival, starting at the Jesuit Cemetery “as a prayerful community remembering our beloved deceased Jesuits” than moving to Copley Lawn to “honor the Blessed Mother with prayers, songs and flowers” and “build a community of trust and thanksgiving.”

And if mentioning the Virgin Mary didn’t make you feel guilty about your plans to get ridiculously shitfaced, the email sent out last night certainly will.

More on O’Donnell’s expert guilt-tripping after the jump.

The second email tells the story of how Georgetown Day was originally conceived as a memorial day for David Shick (MSB ’01), a student who died after an altercation near Launinger in 2000 (the email doesn’t mention how Shick’s parents sued the school in an attempt to change the University’s policy on the confidentiality of disciplinary decisions, just how nice the University was about supporting Georgetown Day).

It’s a touching story, but the closing line of the email is a bit strange given Georgetown Day’s notoriously lax policy on open containers:

[Georgetown Day is] not a day for any one group and certainly a day for the kind of enthusiasm and spirit that doesn’t need alcohol for its good times.

(emphasis mine)

When I asked University spokesperson Andy Pino what the deal with alcohol policy enforcement will be, he replied, ” All Georgetown Day events are alcohol-free, and the university’s alcohol policies will be in effect” and sent me an excerpt of the University’s open container policy.

Now, I have never deleted an email in the history of my Gmail account, and I cannot find any emails from last year stressing either the Catholic nature of the event or the David Shick connection.

I have no problem with an event honoring a young man who died tragically before his time and I won’t dispute O’Donnell’s claim that this is what Georgetown Day was originally envisioned as. However, the event has clearly changed over the past few years, and an attempt to revert back to the original idea—repeatedly emphasizing the anti-drinking theme—the one year Georgetown Day just happens to fall on a GAAP weekend seems more than coincidental.

Exploiting David Shick’s death in an attempt to make us behave ourselves and thus save-face in front of prospective students and their parents? That’s pretty low.

Image from Wikipedia, under public domain.

5 Comments on “The Provost’s not-so-subtle attempts at making this an alcohol-free Georgetown Day

  1. This is a good point. I hadn’t considered the whole anti-alcohol spin in light of GAAP weekend.

    But can we talk about how ridiculously late the registrar is on pre-reg results?

  2. Thomas, the schedule that the registrar put on the website about when pre-reg results come out stated today. Now I know they sent the email rather late in the day, but it’s not like they’re a week late or anything

  3. I fail to see how enforcement of the alcohol policy is anything to write home about; there would be plenty of motive to stop things from getting out of hand regardless of GAAP weekend.

    And furthermore, so what if it’s being done only for GAAP weekend? It’s one thing to hide undesirable events from prospective undergrads, but that amount of, and extent of, open drinking is simply not representative of the community. It’s not unreasonable to want to put on our best face. Open drinking on the front lawn is not a birthright.

  4. I don’t think this is much to ask: No open containers on the lawn. By all means, show up to Georgetown Day as intoxicated as you want. That is your choice, and don’t let anyone take that from you. However, just don’t do it blatantly on the lawn. It is a compromise to which I think we can all agree.

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