Leaders challenge policy with signs
By HELENA PAYNE
Student government's executive cabinet sponsored the publication of thousands of signs challenging the Notre Dame administration's decision to end in-hall dances, better known as "SYRs."
The signs, which read, "We need a voice," and "Save the SYR," were distributed to the Hall President's Council Tuesday night as a protest of just one of the several regulations announced in the University's new alcohol policy by vice president for Student Affairs Father Mark Poorman Tuesday. The major changes included the ban of all hard alcohol in residence halls, the end of in-hall dances and the enforcement of the rule that only students 21-years-old or older may host tailgaters in a designated lot.
"We're asking all the students to put them in their windows and in their doors," said Student Body Vice President Brian Moscona.
Members of the executive cabinet said they were disappointed that the administration did not seek more of their input before making the new alcohol policy.
"The real frustration of executive cabinet was about students having a voice in these decisions," said senior class president Peter Rossman. "It could be any big decision, not just alcohol."
Moscona, who will be a resident assistant in Stanford Hall next year, said the end of SYR dances will be detrimental to the Notre Dame residence hall life. The SYR, which stands for "Screw Your Roommate," is a casual to semi-formal dance in the dorm, usually with themes like O'Neill Hall's Mardi Gras or Lyons Hall's Luau. The original concept of the SYR was that students would get dates for their roommates, hence the expression, but now it varies depending on the dorm and the individual.
"The SYR is a major part of Notre Dame tradition and it's a huge part of the residential community that we try to foster here at Notre Dame," said Moscona.
Junior Amy O'Connor, the executive cabinet's Club Coordination Council athletic division representative, said she and others were shocked about the soon-to-end SYR tradition. According to O'Connor, there had been many rumors about banning hard alcohol, and additional changes to the tailgating policy, but many were completely unaware of the plans to move all dances out of the residence halls.
"The SYRs had seemed to just come out of the blue," said O'Connor. "To think when my brother comes here, he's not going to get to go to an SYR in his dorm, is something I can't believe."
O'Connor said she was sympathetic of the administration's concern regarding alcohol use on campus, but she disagreed with the way it made the decisions.
"I believe that there is a possible different solution than just completely banning SYRs," said O'Connor.
A resident of Pasquerilla West Hall, O'Connor said her friends enjoy SYRs for the convenience of dancing and entertaining their dates in the dorm.
"It's something that they look forward to more than going to an off-campus dance," said O'Connor.
Many student government leaders will be listening to the concerns of students about the alcohol policy changes at today's all-campus meeting at the Fieldhouse Mall at 5 p.m., as well as the Campus Life Council meeting Monday, March 25.
Moscona said students could bring the signs, which were printed by Adworks and approved by Student Activities, to the town hall meeting.
"The major thing that we're going to challenge is the process [through which the administration decided to change the alcohol policy]," said Moscona. "Students need to have more input when major decisions like these are being made."
All News Stories for Wednesday, March 20, 2002