After last week’s Spring Fling Headliner survey showed that most students would prefer this year’s Spring Fling be held on Saturday, Apr. 30, the Yale College Council sent out a second survey this Sunday, with statements from both the Yale Student Athlete College Council and Yale Hillel — two organizations which are against the Saturday date.
Spring Fling has traditionally been held on the first full day of reading period, which is usually a Monday. Two years ago, however, organizers moved the event to the Saturday before reading period, due to complaints from students who had exams on the day of or after Spring Fling. Last year, the Saturday date meant student-athletes from nearly half of Yale’s varsity teams could not attend the event because of athletic competitions. The conflict led YSACC and the Whaling Crew — a non-athlete organization that supports Yale athletics — to draft a letter to the Spring Fling Committee criticizing its decision. The letter had a total of 750 signatures, 60 percent of which were student-athletes, YSACC co-president Caroline Lynch ’17 said.
“Over 350 spring athletes could not make it this day due to varsity competition both home and away,” Lynch, a member of the women’s tennis team, said. “By moving [the date of Spring Fling], YCC was directly excluding a significant portion of the student population.”
For this year’s event, YCC Events Director Amour Alexandre ’17 met with YSACC in order to hear its perspective and ensure that the considerations of student-athletes were taken into account. Spring Fling Chair Tobias Holden ’17 said that in this year’s headliner survey, he made sure to ask not only which date students preferred, either Saturday, Apr. 30 or Monday, May 2, but whether they would be able to attend the alternative option. He added that the number of student-athletes in the 30-person Spring Fling Committee also increased from one to three students this year in an effort to better represent the athlete population.
Whaling Crew President Matthew Sant-Miller ’17 highlighted the difference between not being able to attend on one of the dates, versus having a slight preference for one over the other.
A second survey was sent out exactly one week later, on Oct. 18, after a Yale Hillel board member notified the Spring Fling Committee that Saturday, April 30, would be the last day of the Jewish holiday Passover — a holiday whose time of celebration varies year-to-year and thus is not a consideration for many students this far in advance. He asked for another survey which alerted students to this fact, Holden said.
Although the date has already been officially set, with 84 percent of the 2,500 undergraduate respondents preferring Spring Fling to take place on Saturday, the Spring Fling Committee may reconsider the decision after the second survey closes on Wednesday.
This second survey includes statements from YSACC and Yale Hillel, explaining why each group prefers the Monday date, and raising awareness of how a Saturday Spring Fling may impact the student body.
“If Spring Fling is held on Saturday, Apr. 30, it’ll fall on the last day of Passover,” the statement by Yale Hillel co-president Leon Ebani ’17 reads. “This will affect those who follow Passover restrictions on food and drink.”
While students who observe Passover will still be able to attend the event, they will be unable to consume alcohol. Ebani said he chose to highlight this discrepancy because it would have an impact on the atmosphere of Spring Fling.
Still, Ebani noted that the group most affected would be athletes, since they would be unable to attend the event at all. If Spring Fling takes place again on a Saturday, Ebani added, this will mean that senior athletes only had one chance to attend Spring Fling during their time at Yale — freshman year.
“No one’s trying to wage a big movement here, it’s just a survey to see if students would prefer ‘x’ day to ‘y’ day in light of new information,” Ebani said. “I’m just trying to make sure people are aware of what it would mean if the event is held on Saturday.”
The YSACC statement said it is unfair that the Yale student body can control the date of this event and yet the Spring Fling Committee chooses to put it on a day where no spring athletes can participate. The statement, written by Lynch and football player Jackson Stallings ’17, also stated that friends of athletes would be impacted by the date.
All student-athletes interviewed who were unable to attend Spring Fling last year said they would once again not be able to attend if it were held on the Saturday.
“As the YCC spends a significant amount of their budget intended for the entire student body on this event, it would make sense to schedule it on a day when a significant portion of the undergraduate body is not observing religious holiday or representing Yale in a varsity competition,” track and field athlete Torren Peebles ’17 said.
The Spring Fling Committee also has to take into account other variables when deciding a date, such as when artists are available and the costs of setting up and taking down the show, Holden said. He said the committee also considered holding Spring Fling on a Sunday, but after meeting with the Chaplain’s Office, it was determined that Sunday is not a legitimate option for the event.
While the date of Spring Fling will either be confirmed or adjusted soon after the closing of the survey, the event’s lineup will not be announced until the spring semester.