Canceling Diadeloso is not the right move for university

KingOfCakesDiadeloso. One of the most anticipated traditions of Baylor. An 83-year-old event that gives students a break from classes to engage in outdoor activities — not all of which happen to be on campus.

There are university sponsored events that include paint runs, volleyball competitions and tug of wars on campus. Musical performances, magicians and the lauded circus animals have also filled Fountain Mall in years past.

Some students, however, use their day off to enjoy events off campus — events not sanctioned by the university.

There are some infamous stories about 10th Street and BSR Cable Park that don’t always end cleanly or, frankly put, legally.

In recent years, there has been a push by the Baylor administration to have a larger number of students attend Baylor-sponsored events on campus.

The Baylor Chamber of Commerce is responsible for planning and booking events, and the university seems to feel as though off-campus activities overshadow those on campus, as well as the true spirit of Diadeloso.

In addition, several warnings from university administration have included the possibility of canceling future Diadelosos.

Dr. Kevin Jackson, vice president for student life, sent an email to the student body Monday stating, “In recent years, the wonderful spirit of our on-campus Dia celebration has been marred by some off-campus activities and behaviors that are inconsistent with the purpose of Baylor’s cherished tradition and which have, in some cases, violated University rules and state law.”

He said the university and the city of Waco cannot accept off-campus behavior that would put students’ safety and health at risk. He also said irresponsible actions “jeopardize the Diadeloso tradition.”

The email was almost word-for-word the same as the email he sent on April 8, 2014, before Diadeloso last year.

But should the actions of a few lead to a punishment for the rest of the student body?

The university should not let the actions of a group of individuals ruin a tradition on campus that has far more advantages than disadvantages. Although the administration feels as though there are many students who do not participate in on-campus activities, there are a number of students who do. A walk along Fountain Mall would easily support that claim. In addition, it’s possible the administration is not accounting for the students who visit on-campus activities for a period of time, and then leave. The number of students who actually partake in on-campus activities is likely higher than university officials think, if they think of those on campus as evolving rather than constant.

Diadeloso is nearly 100 years old. It’s embedded in the history and culture of the university. Students look forward to this day for a much-needed break before the final stressful lurch toward the end of the year. Getting rid of Diadeloso would only hurt the masses that attend events on campus.

It’s possible that something like a senior ditch day could evolve as well. If students want a break from class, they will take it. This is the honest truth. Whether that break includes nice, clean fun is up to them.

A senior ditch day could actually be worse than a university-sanctioned day to cancel classes, as the university would not know when this day was. Not to mention that fact there would be less coordinated security between the Baylor and Waco police departments.

In addition, canceling Diadeloso could almost be equated with canceling weekends. Students have the weekends off, yet the university does not police what students do off campus.

It is admirable that the university is concerned about its students. It should be. It should seek to care for them. Threatening to take away Diadeloso is not the way to do it.

Compared to other universities, Baylor’s Diadeloso is fairly tame. Last year, there were no tickets or arrests related to Dia. The University of Texas’ Roundup and Rice’s “Night of Decadence,” which consists of a night of sexually themed parties, are both events that have several more issues with arrests and nudity than at Baylor. One of the reasons, perhaps, is that the university continues to honor the tradition and has somewhat of a handle on it.

In Chapel, another university tradition, several students take the liberty during the time-honored tradition to text, nap and even treat it as a study hall. The university, however, has not considered canceling it because of the actions of a few students. They have made adjustments by having proctors who go around patrolling for students who choose to disrespect the tradition of Chapel. Students are held accountable instead.

In the same sense, the university should not consider canceling Diadeloso because of the actions of a few.

Hold students accountable instead of threatening to withhold a cherished tradition. This is the only sensible thing to do.