**UPDATE: Rumors have circulated that the university will actively police the quad tonight and not allow anyone to be there or to kiss. If this is true, it is by far the most egregious violation of personal rights and the laws of this country that I have ever seen at Stanford. I hope this is not true, and will update as soon as I see for myself.**
The cancellation of Full Moon on the Quad, which was scheduled for tonight’s full moon, raises an important question: since when did the administration have the authority to cancel this event?
After all, the sole components of the event–a full moon and being in the main quad–are not in any way controllable by the university. If you think about it, it really doesn’t make any sense that the university would have any role in running the affair at all: students gathering on a given day in the quad and doing whatever they want is not something the university should control, have any reason to control, or even want to control at all.
As user “Ridic” commented on the online Daily article Students react to cancellation of Full Moon:
The university was never even involved in FMOTQ until a few years ago. Before then, it was just a bunch of kids making out in the quad. Since the university decided to get a bunch of bad bands to play while we make out, they somehow think they can cancel the whole event. Full Moon existed for decades before the administration ever even acknowledged it, and I don’t see why students need the university’s permission to make out. See you at the quad next Sunday!
Since 2004, the university has tried to take control–meaning heavy police presence, needing an ID to enter, and kicking people out. There is certainly a safety element, and I appreciate that the university cares about our safety; taking control and shutting down events, however, cannot be the right way to respond. Particularly in this case, the university picked a battle it will struggle to win: Full Moon on the Quad is still Full Moon on the Quad since there is still a full moon, the quad, and plenty of students who want to kiss.
Regardless of whether or not these traditions are fun, wholesome, or even logical, students should have a right to participate in them without the university stepping in and taking it over. This year’s cancellation shows exactly why: if the university starts running the way students party or participate in traditions, it can shut down any of these things whenever it wants. I don’t think the university hates fun, but rather that it makes more sense to the university to minimize risk for the sake of legal issues. So when faced with the option of allowing students to make their own choices and live their lives or avoid the possibility of unfounded law suits, the university makes the obvious choice–at students’ expense.
FMOTQ is not the only example: over the last few years, the university has bolted down nearly all of the entrances to the steam tunnels to prohibit students from the tradition of “steam-tunneling”–the only reason to do this, it seems, is to prevent the minute chance of injury, and the possibility of an associated baseless lawsuit, that might occur if a student steam-tunnels. However, the university should remember that there is no “accidental” steam-tunneling–you steam-tunnel only if you deliberately want to and thus are aware of the associated risks. Especially since those risks are made very clear both by every staff member in existence and the enormously heavy grates that you must remove to steam-tunnel in the first place.
The same idea goes for FMOTQ–there is no accidental making out with large numbers of people. You know the risks of going if you go and participate, especially since the university does its part by highlighting those risks well. Beyond that, who can say whether or not a student should take those risks?
Because their actions make some sense, I do not blindly blame the administrators of the university for taking into account the legal vulnerability of the activities students participate in. But I want to remind these administrators that there is more to this school than minimizing legal risk–the university’s decision to ‘protect’ students by policing and canceling anything students do is taking away some of the aspects of Stanford that make this university both unique and great.
Given these reasons, there is no reason why anyone not worried about swine flu or horny enough to not care shouldn’t show up tonight to the quad at midnight. I’ll see you there–and you’ve got a 50/50 shot at guessing the reason.