UConn task force urges downsizing Spring Weekend

A University of Connecticut task force is recommending a series of changes be made to reduce the number of people participating in Spring Weekend and is encouraging students not to attend.

“If there were any realistic, practical way for the university to end Spring Weekend outright, then it would have done so many years ago,” the task force composed of university, town and public safety officials wrote in their report.

Spring weekend is an annual tradition for UConn students–and thousands of non-students–with a weekend-long party that often has led to numerous fights and people being taken to the emergency room. Last year, 84 people people were arrested during the non-university sponsored festivities and one student was killed.

The task force found the bulk of the problems are related to non-students flocking to UConn to attend the festivities, and is recommending non-students not be allowed to stay in campus dorms or eat in campus dinning halls during the weekend. Last year, almost 7,000 guests stayed with their friends in their dorms.

“This flood of non-students onto campus contributing to crowds of between 10,000 and 15,000 is intolerable,” the report reads.

Michael Kirk, spokesman for UConn, said he believes this is the first time it has been recommended that banning guests from staying on-campus that weekend has ever been made.

The recommendations have been forwarded to soon-to-be president Susan Herbst, who said during a recent interview she has yet to decide what changes need to be made to tone down the event.

“I have a lot to say on it because it’s one of the things I care most about. Young people like to have fun, and we want them to enjoy being their age… The role of the university is to try to channel that social energy they have into meaningful activities and away from destruction and incivilities,” she said.

The student government at UConn has been silent in recent history in taking a stand on what needs to happen with Spring Weekend, but they are expected to make some recommendations as early as next week.

“Spring Weekend has become a UConn tradition for many students. However, there have been instances of underage drinking, sexual assault, and violent behavior that occur during the event,” Undergraduate Student President Tom Haggerty wrote last month. “At this time, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) acknowledges the value in University traditions and the right to celebrate a year of academic achievement.”