The long time tradition devoted to CSU Stanislaus Warrior spirit and entertainment has been cancelled after a decision by CSUS Student Affairs was made to eliminate the sale of alcohol at the event.
“The CSU Stanislaus Associated Students Inc. is announcing the cancellation of the current year Warrior Day scheduled for May 11, 2012,” stated an ASI press release. “This is a one-time cancelation resulting from concerns related to student safety given the March 23, 2012, decision of Student Affairs to eliminate the sale of alcohol at the event.”
Dr. Suzanne Espinoza, CSUS Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs, wrote a letter to Mehran Khodabandeh, ASI President, stating her decision to not approve the sale of alcohol at the Warrior Day event.
Dr. Espinoza’s decision was based on such things as police reports and the input of public safety officials.
In the letter Espinoza states, “Unfortunately, WD has evolved into an alcohol-centered event that enables and normalizes binge drinking among students. Police reports document that in each of the past several years, dozens of students and visitors have been arrested for public intoxication, underage drinking, providing alcohol to minors, disorderly conduct and other violations of the law.”
“As WD has become an event that not only allows alcohol but fosters an environment of alcohol abuse, the potential for sexual violence is high,” added Espinoza.
Espinoza also noted that the school spirited event has grown from a small, campus-centered event to one that has attracted 3,500 students and 1,500 off-campus visitors.
The decision by Student Affairs to eliminate the sale of alcohol came after multiple meetings, beginning on March 5, 2012, with the ASI Board of Directors. In response to initial concerns voiced by Student Affairs, the Associated Students Inc. created and presented a ten-step action plan to answer the Warrior Day concerns.
“Unfortunately the plan was viewed as being insufficient by Student Affairs,” stated the ASI press release.
While ASI proposed plans and student resources to make an impact toward a safer Warrior Day, CSUS rejected the plan.
“After careful consideration and discussions with key campus leaders, I conclude that these measures are unlikely to eliminate the unacceptable behaviors and risks presented by this event unless alcohol is also barred,” stated Espinoza. “In addition, because eliminating alcohol at the event will not ensure that students will not become intoxicated before coming, I will agree to allow WD to proceed only if ASI partners with the university to implement several of the measures outlined in their proposal.”
The CSUS VP of Student Affairs, Dr. Espinoza, also stated in her letter to ASI, “CSU Stanislaus is committed to providing a safe, healthy environment supportive of learning. There is an expectation that student programs will promote safe, legal, and responsible behavior. Unfortunately, it seems that the presence of alcohol at WD has had the opposite effect and poses an imminent threat to the health and safety of students and the surrounding community.”
CSUS Student Affairs gave ASI until March 26, 2012, (3 days) to contact their office so that the organizations could work together to make Warrior Day a success.
ASI determined the risk to be too great for students in attendance as well as creating a potential risk to the tradition of Warrior Day due to the possibility of continued drinking and public safety issues despite their efforts.
“ASI had made the very difficult decision to cancel Warrior Day 2012 with all efforts and commitment going to Warrior Day 2013,” stated ASI. “ASI Board of Directors felt forced to make this decision for the safety of our students and the need for time to react to the decision made by Student Affairs Friday March 23, 2012.”
David Tonelli, CSUS Associate VP Communications & Public Affairs, wanted to note the Dr. Espinoza’s letter “focuses solely on alcoholic beverages and related issues. ASI took the step of cancelling the event of its own volition.”
Mehran Khodabandeh, ASI President, said over the phone, “The event would have been set up to fail. We felt we were forced to make a decision, now it’s our job to get the information out.”
Mehran said that ASI might be releasing more information on Monday.
There will also be an open forum next week on Thursday, April 5th, 2012, at 3pm in Carol Burke Student Lounge to address concerns with Mehran, Espinoza, and others involved.