Temple University has canceled its decades-old Spring Fling, saying the event has outlived its original intent and that "high-risk" drinking posed serious concerns, according to a campus-wide email sent Monday night by school officials.
The email made no mention of the accidental death of Ali Fausnaught, 19, in April. Fausnaught, a West Chester University student, fell to her death during an off-campus rooftop party near Temple during Spring Fling. She had been visiting her boyfriend.
Fausnaught's death was ruled accidental and was not directly linked to drinking. But students had been drinking on the rooftop when she fell while posing for a picture.
Today's email stated that school officials will work with student leaders and organizations to craft a new campus-wide event for spring with a different feel.
University officials say Spring Fling, traditionally held on the third Wednesday in April, began when Temple was still a commuter school. Originally, it was conceived of as a day when students could gather and celebrate.
In the email, Theresa Powell, vice president for student affairs, said concerns associated with Temple’s growing residential population prompted the cancelation and cited, "very serious concerns about high-risk drinking surrounding Spring Fling."
Powell told the Temple News that Fausnaught's death did not cause the school's re-thinking of Spring Fling.
“Her death was extremely tragic and just a shock,” Powell told the Temple News. “But she is not the reason for this move. It was just the culture that this is now a day to drink and that was most disturbing to us.”
“A dangerous culture of high-risk drinking has infiltrated the event, undermining our academic mission and our duty to safeguard student health and wellness,” said added Dean of Students Stephanie Ives in yesterday's email.
“By and large, the consensus was that it is time for us to re-think how best to unite and engage students,” Ives stated in the email. “A university-wide event such as Spring Fling can no longer be reasonably and responsibly sponsored by the university when it has been overshadowed by dangerous behaviors.”
Instead, Temple will now look to how other universities handle spring events as a model.