SAU Buzz

Administration enforces safety first for Last Blast

by Taylor Beitzel
Posted on Mar 31, 2016

Last Blast has become known as a weekend primarily used for drinking. The University does host other events during the weekend, but a few years ago, the administration at SAU relaxed a few policies in response to the campus wide party. 

Now many students are under the impression that Last Blast will no longer be backed by the University.

“The University is no longer going to support or recognize LB,” Alex Najda, SAU junior, said. “It started out as an underground movement and it seems like it will regress back into that. I have found that the students are very good at self-organization and I have a feeling that students will compensate.”

However, Tim Phillips, Dean of Students, said that the weekend will still have university sponsored events; Last Blast isn’t going anywhere, it might just be a little different.

“We are not changing policies,” Dean of Students Tim Phillips said. “We’re just changing how we administer them.”

However, over the past couple of years, Phillips and other administrators, along with student input, have decided to more strictly enforce the policy that already exists. Drinking policies had been relaxed in the past and, as a result, policy violations increased.

The Quad tends to be a hub of activity during this weekend, and in previous years when policies have been relaxed, violations went up.

The decision to reverse this relaxation has shown a decrease in the amount of policy violations seen during the weekend of Last Blast. Phillips stated that this positive trend has been seen through the past few years.

And while this provides hope for the university, it does not take away all of the fear. 

“The nightmare for any institution is that students go crazy and cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage,” Phillips said.

VEISHEA – Iowa State’s larger version of Last Blast – was shut down two years ago due to destruction, riots, and injury. The goal for the reinforcement of the policies in the Quad is to prevent these kinds of issues and ultimately preserve the tradition of Last Blast.

Still, the existence of the policy does not guarantee student cooperation. Although the policy explicitly states when and where alcohol can be consumed, students don’t always follow those rules.

“I think there is going to be much initial confusion,” Najda said. “However I have a deep suspicion that students are going to find ways to circumvent the rules. The university needs to prepare and become comfortable with this situation.”

Even Phillips notices this trend. He stated that during Last Blast there are twice as many policy violations and the only other weekend that can compare would be Homecoming.

Currently, the alcohol policy laid out in the Student Handbook states that “No one may possess or consume alcoholic beverages in public areas of campus. Public areas include all locations other than students’ rooms, ‘preferred’ apartments in Tiedemann, Hagen, houses, North Hall apartments, or townhouses.” 

When violations of this policy increased and students had to be sent to the hospital, Phillips knew a change needed to happen. 

“Our hope is that we can work with students to help them have a safe, healthy, and responsible weekend,” Phillips said. 

Most students, faculty, and staff seem to agree that the ultimate goal is for students to be safe. 

“I just want everyone to have fun, safe fun,” Najda said. 

To achieve this goal, Phillips held forums in 2014 and 2015 for students to talk about the options for Last Blast and determine how to make it safer for everyone. On March 30 of this year, another forum will be held to address any issues students are concerned about before the event begins. 

“We are going to consider and treat the weekend of Last Blast like every other weekend,” Phillips said. “When we relax policy we give the impression that all policy is relaxed.”

To promote student safety, reduce policy violations, and still maintain a fun and relaxing atmosphere without relaxing rules is the goal. Last Blast will continue, so long as students follow campus rules.