By Annerijn Vink
Let’s face it: Unity Day and Marathon Monday weren’t quite successful. With three teams participating in Unity Day and 31 people drinking beer on Marathon Tuesday, this cannot have been the result we were hoping for. Was it the UCSA Board’s fault?
Marathon Monday, based on a Boston tradition where the marathon provides a full day of drinking and fun, provoked quite some discussion. “It was a bit of a joke,” says UCSA Chair Noam Auerbach. “I didn’t think people would take it that far.”
Literally overnight, the Facebook event page was flooded with more than 40 comments from (former) UCSA members that expressed their disapproval of the event. They thought it was irresponsible and disrespectful towards teachers and College Hall, dubbing this “a new low point of the UCSA Board”.
After this uproar, the Board changed the date to a Tuesday afternoon, so it would not interfere with academics. According to Noam, College Hall didn’t say anything about the event at all and understands that college life involves parties and alcohol. “People exaggerated the influence it would have on our representative role. It had no effect whatsoever.”
Some argue that if BarCo would have organized the event, most students would have been okay with it. Noam stresses that in the end, the responsibility lies with the Board, regardless of whether they organized it themselves or whether a committee organized it. “The only difference is a symbolical one,” he says. He emphasizes that the UCSA has a broad goal in taking care of all non-academic activities that are in students’ interest, varying from lectures and dance lessons to parties.
The most interesting argument, however, is probably that the Board thought that people would be responsible enough in deciding whether to join the event or not. “If you have an exam on Wednesday morning, no one is responsible for your partying on the Tuesday night before. You can’t blame the bartender that gave you the drink for your hangover the next day”. Indeed, those that didn’t have class on Monday afternoon could have joined without any worries. But does that mean that the UCSA Board should suggest, even stimulate, drinking in class?
The question boils down to the role of the UCSA Board: do we want them to fulfil all our different and sometimes very studenty wants, or do we want them to draw a line?
It is logical to blame the Board for the things that went wrong. It is easy to emphasize their mistakes. But let’s not forget that we, as UCSA members, have responsibility as well. We can complain about the “failure” of Unity Day and blame it on the Board, but most of us didn’t put any effort in making it work, either. And we can say Marathon Monday is disrespectful, but doesn’t it depend on ourselves whether it becomes an irresponsible event or not?