In his commentary “Parade Celebrates Culture,” Brett Auriemma argues against The University’s policy regarding Parade Day.
It is important to distinguish the downtown parade from the other events that occur throughout the city and campus. While there are students for whom the parade itself is the only event they attend, they are so rare as to be a statistical anomaly. Indeed, shirts emblazoned with slogans like “What parade?” will pack the streets, houses and yards surrounding campus. Therefore in this discussion, when referencing Parade Day I will be referring to the events on and around campus, and not the parade itself.
Auriemma claims that the administration’s decision “makes Parade Day seem like only a giant drinking event” and states that this “could not be further from the truth.” As someone who has participated in the activities associated with Parade Day at The University and in the Hill Section for the last two years, I am willing to categorically state that it is in fact “a giant drinking event.”
Auriemma repeatedly refers to Parade Day as something that celebrates Irish culture. Being someone who shares his Irish heritage (ironically, neither of us have particularly Irish surnames), I cannot let these claims go unchallenged. Traditionally in Ireland, it is a day celebrated as a somber religious holiday. Suggesting that anything other than the parade itself celebrates Irish culture borders on the ridiculous and serves only to further perpetuate negative stereotypes.
Auriemma’s comments regarding those students who will be 21 is barely worth a response. Suffice it to say that no one will stop you from ordering a drink in this city or any other.
On the issue of student safety, Auriemma and I are in complete agreement. With that being said, I am sure the decision was arrived at in the best possible faith with concern for students being a primary motivating factor.
Although ultimately Auriemma and I agree regarding the decision, his suggestion that the actions of this student body on Parade Day in any way celebrate or represent Irish culture or heritage is simultaneously laughable and offensive to those of us who believe truly in honoring our roots.
Perhaps still more disturbing is the number of other students on campus who will use this excuse or one like it to justify their actions, when in fact Parade Day at this university celebrates one thing: drinking.
(In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a resident assistant and a senior, and I intend to remain on campus during Parade Day 2015.)
Feb. 27, 2015