UI’s New Activity Memo; What does it Mean for Student and Student Events?

By: Toluwalope Ayeye

The second semester comes with a series of events fighting for attention in the individual schedules of the students, many of which are highly anticipated. For instance, there is the Jaw War slated for later this month. There are also departmental, hall, and Faculty dinners usually scheduled for after examinations. In anticipation of the myriad of events, the office of the dean of students released a memo about newly acceptable conduct during these events. Considering the content of the memo, the information must have slammed some students – who may have been looking forward to dinners and student weeks – in the face. While some of the contents of the memoranda are clear and self-explanatory, others have left students with numerous unresolved issues. How about a peek into the details of these new rules? 

A New Conduct During Carnival Processing

Carnivals – or rallies – are not a new concept at UI; simply, they are parades organized to raise awareness about a forthcoming event, like a student week. Prior to the issuance of the memorandum, there had not been any restrictions on these processions. Now, however, carnival processions have been restricted to major routes in the University. Additionally, it is now mandatory that security personnel accompanies students during the processions. Finally, halls are now strictly exempted from these processions; students can no longer rally into a hall whether male or female. 

As far as these new modalities go, it is plausible to consider them as part of a bigger scheme to keep students and their properties safe and secure. For instance, it would be easy to control theft cases during these rallies considering the crowd control modalities.

Restrictions on Student Dinners

Aside from Carnivals and Parades, the memorandum also included new modalities for dinners at the University. According to the memo, all dinners must be held within the boundaries of the school, and never outside. There is also a time restriction on these events; regardless of the day, all dinners are mandated to end on or before 9:30 p.m. Again, security seems to be the rationale behind this adjustment; the campus environment is within the jurisdiction of the School security, hence they will be able to monitor these events.

However, on the flip side of the memorandum, it appears that regulations on student-organized social events have become increasingly tighter over the years. For instance, students were mandated to invite staff from the Faculty or departmental management to these same dinner events, or at the very least, a representative. While it makes logical sense to tighten security, considering what the country is like, having social events under overregulated conditions defeats the purpose of the gathering.

The time and location regulations for instance: if dinners are now strictly limited to the campus environment, there seems to be no further need for such strict time limits. The students are expected to plan. Commuting and indulging in this social convection within the periods of say, 4, and 9:30 pm. The time limits rarely allow for much; it places considerable pressure on the Faculty leaders and dinner committees. As a consequence, the very essence of the social gathering may be stifled. 

If the location restriction holds, the safety of the students is relatively guaranteed regardless of the time. After all, the school is a controlled environment. Following this premise, a time limit extension to 10:30 pm, represents a reasonable compromise between security and freedom for social events, considering all of the variables involved in these dinner events. 

Lastly, it is also not out of place for staff advisers and staff administrators to be invited to dinner events. The new memo, however, mandates it for all dinners. In a way, these rules further suggest stricter restrictions for students in these dinner events. I could plausibly argue that this rule could potentially discourage students from attending these dinner events, or limit their ability to fully enjoy the event. In the actual sense of it, it may also be a burden on the staff, if they are mandated to attend these events out of the comfort of their homes. This part of the memo suggests a jarring skepticism at the conduct of the students if left alone. It also suggests that the concept of student autonomy is gradually dwindling, and may soon be lost.

True, It is important to trust that students can behave responsibly, especially in the event held within school grounds with a time limit. While it is always helpful to have staff members available for support and guidance, it may be more appropriate to make their presence optional, giving students the freedom to socialize and connect with their peers in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.

In conclusion, a careful examination of the management’s decisions reveals a direct bearing on the security and safety of the pupils. While this is important and noble, it doesn’t follow that no modifications to the memo can be made. There is always space for improvement to allow rational compromises between choice, social freedom, and regulations.

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