As we move forward in the semester after recovering from the spike in cases, the university’s main solution is to put events with more than 25 attendees through an application process, requiring an events committee to accept or deny on-campus events.
This decision came with several others, including postponement of intramurals and pledging and movement of rushing activities to virtual events.
While some events are being canceled or denied, other, bigger events are starting for the first time this semester.
Rushing activities have been moved online for the remainder of the semester, but large-group chapel in Moody has returned. Several European countries are shutting down for what they’re calling a “second wave,” yet Abilene seems to be more open than ever.
These decisions make it clear that despite rises in cases, the university is just as unsure about how to go about this as we are. Decisions on what events are allowed and what are not seem to have nothing to do with the ability to social distance and everything to do with how it makes the university look.
Football games and large group chapels remain, yet small group chapels are still limited. Rushing is canceled, but sorority and fraternity socials are still allowed. It is clear that the event approval process isn’t an exact science.
As cases rise and fall and the possibility of second waves looms above us, the university should decide very carefully which events are safe, not which events bring in money or make the university look good. Social distancing and mask protocols during classes and essential activities seem to be working, but events and off campus activities drive each spike in cases.
We all want to have the best year possible and be as involved as we can, but choosing which events to cancel and which events to remain can’t be content based. Singing “Oh, Dear Christian College” won’t keep the COVID-19 away, so religious based events shouldn’t be pushed through above other, potentially safer events. Coronavirus also doesn’t go away once you get into a sorority, so allowing socials but canceling rushing seems baseless.
Overall, students and administrators should be very careful about which events they attend and which they allow, and that should be based on safety and not content. If we don’t focus on safety and keeping numbers down, we could catch the second wave faster than expected, and we won’t have the choice of which events to go to because there won’t be any.