Hope Mueller – [email protected]
On Case Day this year, both campuses are calling for backup.
Case Day, a non-school-sanctioned event during which many students attempt to drink a whole case of beer in a day, is widely recognized on and off campus.
For the past few years, both CSB and SJU senates have sat on a student-led Case Day task force. Along with the student-led task force, administration also has a task force dedicated to Case Day. This year, the task forces joined and discussed the best way to create a safe experience for Bennies, Johnnies and the St. Joseph community.
The combined task force consists of select senators from CSB and SJU, both Deans of Students, representatives from Residential Life, CSB Security, Life Safety, Culinary Services and the St. Joseph Police Chief.
“Case day is known for a lot of alcohol consumption,” St. Joseph Police Chief Joel Klein said. “It’s concerning to us because there are people who can handle [their alcohol] and people who can’t. We deal with people who can’t handle it.”
The St. Joseph police department has many things to consider when it comes to a day dedicated to drinking; for example, alcohol poisoning, physical fights, sexual assault, property damage and students getting hit by vehicles.
Currently, all 10 St. Joseph police officers will work overtime on Case Day due to the influx of problems. According to CSB and SJU Deans of Students Jody Terhaar and Mike Connolly, Case Day has grown in size and outside participation. This year Klein requested funding for additional enforcement.
Because Klein requested funding for four additional officers, the motion was brought to the CSB and SJU senates. Each senate was asked for $900, the price of funding two Stearns County police officers for an eight-hour shift. This motion was discussed at their joint meeting Wednesday, March 22. CSB voted to fund two officers with a vote of 11-5-0. SJU decided not to fund two officers with a vote of 4-14-0.
CSB senior and senator Sarah Berry, a senator who sat on the Case Day task force and voted to fund extra enforcement, emphasized the complexity of Case Day and the need to understand the breadth of who Case Day affects.
“By using student activity fees to fund something off-campus you’re essentially funding something that will combat student safety concerns on-campus,” Berry said.
SJU senior and senator Zac McFarland voted against the motion to bring additional law enforcement. McFarland highlighted how this was one of the hardest motions he’s voted on during his three years on the St. John’s Senate.
“It felt like a $1,000 Band-Aid, it doesn’t address the actual problem [drinking culture],” McFarland said. “We voted in a way, on the initiative that was presented to us, that we thought would be most beneficial, utilizing our resources and our time.”
Connolly, who was in favor of the increased security, said only a small percentage of students create the need for more rules and enforcement.
“Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen,” Connolly said. “If it happens, it happens and we need to address it.”
Although only the CSB Senate voted to fund two police officers with $900, according to Terhaar, SJU will supply $900 without the help of the SJU Senate, to fund the other two officers.
Culinary Services, another voice in the Case Day task force, also takes additional steps in preparing for Case Day. Director of Culinary Services Kim Poganski said Gorecki Dinning Center adds three to five staff members to their typical rotation, creates a menu with food that doesn’t easily fall off plates and for the first time, have decided to close Upper Gorecki that weekend for events like weddings and banquets.
“There are a number of students that don’t want to participate and it’s a really difficult day for them to be on campus,” Poganski said. “That’s why we strive for our dinning outlets to be a safe, positive environment for students to go to. But on that day they don’t feel that way.
“[Students’] behaviors are not a positive image of CSB/SJU and everyone works so hard to make sure there is a positive image—including our students,” Poganski said. “This one day, or other days similar, can really create an image that truly doesn’t represent them.”
There are a number of students who choose not to participate in Case Day. This year, Residential Life and the Joint Events Council are hosting events to offer students alternatives to Case Day.
CSB senior Megan Myers plans to spend her day being engaged and productive.
“I just don’t think drinking that much is very appropriate,” Myers said, “both for the students and for the community. It goes against the Benedictine values, especially moderation.”
Klein reiterates the need for students to be responsible and safe.
“It’s about being responsible and knowing it’s not all about yourself, but it’s about our community,” Klein said. “Enjoy yourself, but have pride and take care of the community—if you’re of age.”
FEATURE GRAPHIC BY JILLIAN SCHULZ • [email protected]