EDITORIALS

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May 21, 2010

Chicken-n-beer? That’s ludicrous.

Bonanza should channel the spirit of Animal House, but leave the animals out

Bonanza, the backyard party held annually the afternoon before the Summer Breeze Music Festival, is the sort of event this University could use more of. The free drinks, slip ’n slides, warm weather, and crowds of students not bundled head-to-toe in flannel and fleece call to mind those college parties we always saw in the movies, but almost never see on this campus. For one anomalous day in May, UChicago feels like Faber College, and whether that’s your scene or not, we should all be glad it’s there, and hope that it continues.

That’s why the animals have to go. Besides the beer and kiddie pools, Bonanza is probably best known for the barnyard animals that make an appearance each year. Those of us who made it to last Saturday’s Bonanza got to see a chicken standing in the middle of a kiddie pool; anyone who couldn’t make it probably saw photos of grinning students posing next to a duck on their Facebook newsfeed Sunday morning.

As cute as the duck was, the truth—which really goes without saying—is that college students, alcohol, and living animals shouldn’t all three be in the same place at once. Even if Bonanza’s organizers know how to handle the animals responsibly, there’s no way they can be certain the more than 500 guests who RSVP’d online will be equally knowledgeable and careful. That so many of the guests are drinking only compounds the chances that one of the animals could be mistreated, and that possibility alone is reason enough to keep the animals out of the mix.

With that said, it seems crass to mention the potential ramifications for the students involved, but there is no question that involving animals puts the organizers and their guests in a precarious situation. Previous cases of college students mistreating animals have garnered national media attention, sullied the reputations of the individuals and organizations responsible, and led to disciplinary proceedings and criminal charges. The animals may be funny and cute to have around, but unless their safety can be ensured, they simply aren’t worth the risks.

Bonanza has a lot going for it. People will turn out for the drinks, the sunshine, the chance to see drunk guys wrestling on slip ’n slides, or just for a change of pace from the usual U of C party. The appeal isn’t in the chickens, the ducks, or any other animals. To have them around only invites trouble, and that’s one guest nobody wants showing up.

The Maroon Editorial Board includes the Editor-in-Chief and the Viewpoints Editors.

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