*This article does not reflect the beliefs of the Her Campus Chapter at UCR
Recently, the Associated Students Program Board (ASPB) at the University of California – Riverside (UCR) released an announcement concerning their acclaimed Spring Splash. Spring Splash is a university concert held during the spring quarter for the students here in Riverside. In previous years the lineup has included big names such as Lil Uzi Vert, Trey Songz, Pusha T, and Ludacris. In ASPB’s announcement they stated, “all UCR students MUST complete the safety module PRIOR to going to Spring Splash. If you do not complete this module, you will NOT be allowed entry into the venue.” My first reaction was confusion and as seen by the comments left on their post, many students aren’t particularly happy with this new requirement.
(Photo by Daniela Olguin)
The introduction of the module is done in hopes of bringingto bring awareness to the importance of consent and the dangers of alcohol and drugs – which have always been prohibited during the event and any student who displays clear signs of intoxication has been escorted out of the venue. This concept isn’t entirely new to UCR students. First-years are required to complete similar modules during the fall and face the consequence of holds on their student account. Even some campus jobs require you to complete modules for sexual harassment and other important topics. The intention behind this new requirement is good in that it reminds us students of the dangers that come with drinking. However, I don’t think the issue students have is with the awareness aspect.
Lack of Respect
A student I interviewed, who asks to remain anonymous, stated that she didn’t necessarily mind the module because “they [UCR] acknowledge the problems that are present every year” such as, alcohol poisoning, drug use, etc. but believes that this approach is not the proper one to take, she calls for “more safety and/or aid, because UCR students are college students that are going to do what they want regardless.” It seems like the issue here is the lack of respect between students and the institution. As adults, we are free to make our own choices; whether that may be drinking before an event or abiding by all event rules. The module isn’t a burden because of it’s time consuming, but for the assumption that we cannot be responsible. Instead of providing other resources to combat the issue, they have chosen to limit the event’s duration time and stripped away privileges and benefits.
The module begins with the question “Do you plan on drinking alcohol the day of the Spring Splash?” with the choices of yes, maybe, and no as answers. Regardless of your choice, they still insinuate that the expect you to drink with statements such as “We know that you don’t plan to drink. But, we want to give you a chance to plan for it, in case you change your mind.” The further you go into the module, the more and more the module implies that even if we state we won’t drink, they don’t have faith in our decisions.
Interestingly, the module doesn’t emphasise one of the most important aspects of their initial statement, – consent. Throughout the module, the only mention of consent is toward the end of the module; where only a single page is dedicated to consent in the total of approximately twelve pages. Though the site gives a clear definition of consent, this is the proper way to educate individuals on the topic. It implies that the blame is on the victims of sexual assault themselves, perpetuating r*pe culture and victim-blaming.
(Photo by Daniela Olguin)
In the past, ASPB has sold guest passes to friends and family of students. Students have historically loved the idea and took it as an opportunity to share the experience with friends from other universities. However, ASPB has announced that for the 2019 show guests will not be allowed into the event due to the exploitation of resources meant for UCR students; this is with the exception of Winter ‘19 graduates. This seems to be the biggest upset amongst students. All over the internet, Highlanders are upset with this benefit being taken away. I’m not able to decipher if this is an issue at a larger level or simply the principle of the matter. An interesting twist that has come from this decision is concerning alumni. Alumni were obviously once undergraduates here at the university and still deserve the chance to attend UCR events as they are lifelong Highlanders, but due the fine print only “current UCR students” can attend. Some alumni have seen this as an exclusivist action and have decided to cut ties with the university in general.
(Photo by ASPB @ UCR)
In the end, though the statement and new requirements are made with good intention all-in-all it sounds like a threat. At the end of their Highlander Exclusive statement, ASPB declared that our school’s concerts are a “privilege that can be easily taken away” if we don’t make a conscious effort, as Highlanders, to change campus culture” putting an excessive amount of pressure on the students of UCR and making them solely responsible for continuing “UCR traditions.” Making it seem as if this tradition was taken away, it would be our carelessness that wouldthatlasses would be tothe one to blame. Ffor future generations, rather than those in power. I propose a question, would the consequences be placed on the students or would the university suffer a poor reputation for disappointing it’s students?. I think the programs on campus should pay attention to the power we have as students and realize that a threat won’t change our minds.