Despite significant opposition from parts of the Yale student body, the Yale College Council announced in its fall newsletter on Friday that Spring Fling would remain on Saturday, April 30 — a date that conflicts with many spring athletic competitions as well as the last day of Passover.
After an initial survey indicated that 84 percent of the 2,500 undergraduate respondents preferred this year’s Spring Fling be held on this date, the YCC sent out a second survey that included statements from members of both the Yale Student Athlete College Council and Yale Hillel, a Jewish organization at Yale. With the second survey, the percentage of respondents preferring the Saturday date dropped to 67 percent, with 11 percent indicating that they would not be able to attend if the event were held on Monday instead. Thirty-three percent of respondents said they preferred Monday, and 10 percent noted that they would not be able to attend Spring Fling on Saturday.
A total of 2,851 students replied to either of the two surveys, Spring Fling Committee Chair Tobias Holden ’17 said, and the YCC linked responses by Yale NetID in order to use the most recent response from each student. Holden did not specify how many students responded to the second survey.
“While the Spring Fling Committee recognizes this prevents various student-athletes from attending and conflicts with Passover, an unambiguous majority of Yalies prefer for Spring Fling to take place on Saturday,” a YCC email sent out to the entire student body read.
Holden and YCC Events Director Amour Alexandre ’17 said that although they did see an increase in the number of students who chose Monday as their preferred date because of Passover, athletic commitments or other reasons, they were unable to change the date because a majority still chose Saturday.
Student-athletes interviewed expressed disappointment with the final decision, highlighting the difference between being unable to attend a specific day and having a general preference for one date. Additionally, all student-athletes interviewed who were unable to attend Spring Fling last year because it was held on a Saturday said they will again be unable to attend this year.
“Everyone else has a choice about going whether it’s Saturday or Monday; we simply cannot go if it’s on a Saturday,” men’s track and field member Torren Peebles ’17 said. “Spring sport student-athletes and students observing Passover are two significant portions of the undergraduate population, who, unique to the rest of the undergraduate population, had concrete commitments during reading week when everyone else could realistically attend either day because they don’t have those religious or varsity sport commitments.”
Caroline Lynch ’17 and Jackson Stallings ’17, co-presidents of YSACC, were also frustrated with the final Saturday date. Last year, YSACC joined up with The Whaling Crew — a non-athlete organization that supports Yale athletics — to draft a letter to the YCC protesting the Saturday date. The letter had a total of 750 signatures, 60 percent of which were from athletes.
Lynch and Stallings said that following last year’s open letter and with the timing of Passover this year, they thought the YCC would have understood that Saturday is not the best day to host a campuswide event. They added that although the YCC made distinct efforts to resolve the ongoing issue, they felt the questions on the survey about the date preference were confusing and thus results did not accurately represent student-body opinion.
“I’m disappointed because a lot of the same people who missed it last year will likely have to miss it again this year,” President of The Whaling Crew Matthew Sant-Miller ’17 said. “Obviously, being a student-athlete entails a lot of sacrifices, and I’m sorry that one more just got added to that list.”
Sant-Miller said it was unclear at this moment whether or not The Whaling Crew would take any further actions to attempt to change the Spring Fling date. Meanwhile, YSACC held a meeting on Sunday night to talk about the Spring Fling date and gather ideas and opinions for a plan going forward. Members of YSACC did not wish to comment on the details of the meeting.
Holden and Alexandre, however, added that at this moment there are no better or viable solutions to solve the Spring Fling date conflict this year. Holden said that the Yale College Dean’s Office, in conjunction with the Chaplain’s Office, rejected the possibility of a Spring Fling on Sunday, May 1, though Lynch said she thought this option should be explored further.
“Besides reading week, there isn’t another time of the year where students are on campus with so few academic obligations preventing them from participating in Spring Fling,” Holden said. “Moving the date earlier or later by even a week would conflict with preparation for other events on Old Campus, including Bulldog Days, Commencement and Reunions.”
Last year’s Spring Fling was held on Saturday, April 25.