An April 21 Sacramento Bee article titled “Weekend rowdiness may bring an end to UC Davis’ 96 year-old Picnic Day” sparked worry among many students and alumni that Picnic Day may end.
Gary Sandy, UC Davis director of government relations, said in the article, “All options are on the table.”
The article described a rise in arrests, incidents of public vomiting, fighting and littering.
However, 33 arrests is a relatively low number considering that 75,000 people attended Picnic Day. Many of those arrested were not even from Davis. For example, two individuals from El Cerrito allegedly attempted to fight an officer and were arrested.
Ending Picnic Day would mean ending a unique opportunity for the university to show off its accomplishments for the community. It is an important means of building goodwill and support for the university, especially at a time of such budget-related tension.
One of the biggest complaints is that alcohol is the major problem of this event. Letters have been sent to these establishments over the past years, encouraging them to not have drink specials on Picnic Day. Some have proposed limiting the sale of alcohol on Picnic Day. Although this solution is aimed at root of the problem, its impact will probably be minimal. Partygoers will drink regardless of location or when they buy their alcohol.
The fact is that Picnic Day is a celebration, and college students are bound to celebrate with alcohol. We are by no means encouraging under-age drinking or carrying open containers of alcohol.
Everyone involved recognizes that there are problems associated with Picnic Day. Most of those problems occur off-campus, however, and there are ways to deal with them without doing something as drastic as fundamentally altering a 96-year-old campus tradition.
The city of Davis and the campus community can team up for better clean-up efforts at future Picnic Days; either through student volunteers as demonstrated by the Greek community this year, or through a designated clean-up crew. Additionally, more police and more security will help maintain order and safety on Picnic Day.
Steps like these are a much better alternative than doing away with one of the events that makes UC Davis special.