By Oren Liebermann
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – On the first day of classes at Temple University, the school stunned the student body by cancelling one of the most popular events.
“I think it’s pretty awful,” said junior Benjamin Math.
“I know that students were drinking, but I don’t think that’s a reason to cancel it,” echoed junior Deborah Charmelus.
The university cancelled Spring Fling, an annual event in April that brought together students and student organizations for a mid-week celebration. But the university says the event is no longer about the campus community. It is about off campus drinking.
“It really has created more harm on campus academically and then personally for students with the drinking,” said Dean of Students Stephanie Ives. “We really cannot responsibly sponsor an event when we know it has changed that way.”
This past April, a visiting college student died when she fell from an off-campus roof party during Spring Fling weekend. It was a wake up call for the university.
“It really gave us a moment to pause and to think about what this culture of high risk drinking that our students have been engaged in over the course of the last several years, how far it’s gone,” said Ives.
Studies show nearly 40 percent of college students admit to binge drinking. Temple students say that weekend will still be a party weekend, whether the university plans an event or not.
“I really don’t think people wait for permission for Spring Fling or wait for the university to tell them whether they can or cannot actually do it,” says senior Matthew Sisk, “so I think it will happen regardless.”
Some students say there was more to Spring Fling than drinking. Junior Deborah Charmelus commutes to school.
“I work a job. I go to school, so there’s not many options for me to be on Temple’s campus,” says Charmelus, “so I always tried to go to Spring Fling, and now I won’t have that.”
The university says they are working on another event in spring with student organizations, but that is still very much in the planning phase.