Noise bylaws, residence changes, and BurMac cancellation. These are just a few examples of events that have taken place since last February when StFX received the Maclean’s ranking of number one party school in Canada.
StFX has always been seen as an academic institution with a passion for celebration.
I remember finishing high school and telling people about where I was going for post-secondary. It always got the same response: “You’re going to that party school!” and, “Make sure you focus on your studies!”
Each alumni I spoke to told me stories about the rich traditions associated with each residence and their favourite memories of Chuggles (now Splitties), the Inn, or Pat’s Place (now an appliance store).
The times are changing. Traditions are being eliminated, parties are being pushed off campus, and some residences no longer allow returning students. The town is also cracking down on parties and noise complaints. This systematic suffocation of party culture seems to be coming from both the town and the university administration.
On the university side of things comes the conversion of many residences to first year only, the elimination of guests on homecoming, banning chants due to the use of words like ‘twerk’ - the list goes on and on. These are just a few examples of the attempts at removing the traditional landscape of life at X.
What does this mean for StFX students? What are the goals of the university in actively trying to tone down the social atmosphere that attracted many of us in the first place?
The administration is bringing StFX into the realm of what many other Canadian universities are: a place with a strict academic focus, and a lack of the unique social culture that StFX possesses. This could be to the university’s detriment when future generations arrive, expecting the same things that we had.
While I do agree that property damage and hazing should not be tolerated, I have to wonder how far the quest to end the party school reputation will go, and what the implications will be.
Will the students protest, or boycott living in residence? Will alumni donations slow down? And what will be the measurement of successfully eliminating party culture? Would a lower ranking in Macleans do it? Or maybe fewer write-ups during big events? I am curious to see if the RCMP and campus security presence will be heavier during Homecoming celebrations, and if the upcoming mayoral election will have an impact on the fate of BurMac.
The social aspect of life in Antigonish is a huge part of what makes StFX such a unique and amazing place. Student safety should be the number one priority, but stakeholders in this process should aim to preserve our rich culture and traditions.