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Carleton wants Rotblatt dead

For those who find themselves blissfully unaware, last week the Carletonian revealed a set of changes to our yearly tradition we so love and adore: Rotblatt. Gone are the days where Rotblatt was truly a celebration of Carleton’s life from sunrise to sunset. Now we are only able to drink from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., ruining the one single rule that Rotblatt has had since its inception: drink in hand, always. The committee in charge of Rotblatt is no longer allowed to solicit donations from alumni unless the alumni approach them first (alumni, please re-read that sentence). What used to be a well-funded event will now suffer in quality because Carleton does not want their precious money pots—I mean alumni—to feel in any way tied to this so treacherous event. But of course, Rotblatt will still have a slight presence in Carleton’s admissions material. The administration wants us, the student body, to settle for whatever butchered version of Rotblatt they  deem feasible for marketing purposes while keeping their personal responsibility as small as possible. 

Like many rule changes in the past year, I’m sure Carleton would want you to believe that these changes are in the name of COVID-19. We live in a COVID-19 ‘normalcy’ where we blindly accept restrictions that are introduced in the name of public safety. Let’s not be ridiculous though, most of these regulations are perfectly sane and needed, but an emphasis on the word most is necessary. This won’t stop the college from instituting completely irrelevant changes, taking advantage of the situation. A similar thing happened last fall, when the college made the decision to restrict student OneCard access to residential buildings  apart from one’s own. While this decision was made in the name of COVID-19, it was a decision that had been debated  years prior. Where the rest of us saw a pandemic and strict regulation, the Administration saw an opportunity. Thankfully, students did not give in (or perhaps the college did not feel strongly enough about it) and the changes were not permanent. 

If you don’t believe that this is completely unrelated to ‘pressing necessity’ in regard to the pandemic, then allow me to demonstrate. These changes are not new. Some of them were once introduced in 2014, but students fought back. An anonymous student started a Change.org petition titled Rotblatt is an organic, living celebration of the life, freedom and humanity of our unique Carleton community. Stop the changes now! and garnered over a thousand signatures from students and alumni alike. The changes were not implemented then, but it appears as if the college remains dedicated to making these happen eventually. As the petition also mentions, this is part of a larger effort for the college to absolve themselves of institutional responsibility for events that involve alcohol. Sorry, Carleton, but no matter how much you would want it to be so, banning kegs on campus and heavily restricting alcohol at the Cave will not help your liability and image issues (especially concerning Title IX cases). If I were you, I’d be ready to assign blame to the ineptitude of the college’s processes concerning sexual assault and harassment. These issues run far deeper than student drinking and are institutional at their core. 

This is  past the beginning of the end, and if we let them, the administration will continue to take advantage of the fact that about 75% of students on campus have never experienced Rotblatt and  many other traditions, and they will introduce the changes they see fit because, quite frankly, we don’t know better. And with two years of COVID-19 regulations, we are supposed to be ‘thankful’ for whatever we can get. 

I’m good, though.

18 Comments

  1. An extremely disappointed recent grad An extremely disappointed recent grad April 23, 2022

    As someone who graduated last year, I can say definitively that the Carleton Administration has a goal of destroying Carleton’s unique culture. Last year they wouldn’t allow us to drink during senior week “because of COVID”, yet they were fine letting us all run around bowlero unmasked for hours. Rottblatt used to be my favorite day of the year. It brought the entire campus together, from every social group. It was all about being happy together. If the administration keeps getting what they want, Carleton is going to turn into a school known for not providing a good social. Hey, admin! There’s a reason why all of you most successful alumni cherish the unique and close knit party culture and events like rotbatt. I know I speak for many of us when I say that I will never donate to Carleton unless they allow students to carry on these most beloved traditions. If these traditions disappear, then, frankly, Carleton is no longer my school.

    • '21 Grad '21 Grad April 29, 2022

      Don’t forget that they limited us to having only two family members at graduation, and then rescinded the mask mandate on campus days later. Really enjoyed that one. Honestly, would not be surprised if they don’t get any donations from the class of ’21.

  2. Trevor McNeil Trevor McNeil April 23, 2022

    How DO alumni support Rotblatt?

    • Jocelyn Pihlaja Jocelyn Pihlaja April 25, 2022

      Agree. I want to know where to send a donation.

      • Carleton junior Carleton junior April 30, 2022

        venmo @rotblatt156

  3. Robert Strauss Robert Strauss April 23, 2022

    What you call “Rotblatt” is not worthy of the name. As ine of the few two year Rotblatt commissioners, the person with the worst hitting percentage in th end of the season marathon game and having had a league named after himself after graduation. The idea of Rotblatt was not to go blotto one day of the year, but to play among all fellow students in a league where drinking was semi sanctioned because it was light. Marv used to come for a weekend every other year … a real live cigar chomping MLB vet, who was both the shortest man ever to play in The Show and the first pitcher to ride in a cart from the bullpen to the mound…please read of the real Marv in my obit of him for The Voice… https://apps.carleton.edu/voice/?story_id=1069936&issue_id=1069733

    • Jane '10 Jane '10 April 26, 2022

      Plentyof people don’t actually drink that much at Rotblatt. I attended all 3 years I was on campus and was never very drunk. You have to have a drink in hand, not actively be drinking it. And I don’t know when Rotblatt changed to a single day event, but it was well before I arrived, in 2006.

  4. Jane Doe Jane Doe April 25, 2022

    I graduated in ‘83, and playing Rotblatt on a team in a softball league satisfied one of my requirements for P.E. There were many interesting rules: if you knocked over a beer bottle on a grounder it was an automatic OUT, all disputed calls were settled by a chug-off, etc. “Bat Relays”, where you put your forehead on the bat handle, ran circles around it until you were dizzy, and then raced your opponent to fist base were an essential part of the game. And I was horrified when they dropped the Rotblatt softball league and left only the X-inning game in place.

    We also had a cherished tradition called “President’s Day”: on one of the first warm days of spring, notices would be put on dorms and buildings that is was President’s Day, and all classes were canceled. As you can imagine, the day was a campus-wide party. This was all possible, in part, because 18 was the drinking age then. They supposedly ended President’s Day because Professors were irked that their schedules were disrupted. I say nay.

    Yes, I agree with the writer of the article – keep chipping away at the unique and long-standing traditions that Carls love, and you’re going to have fewer happy Carls. Carleton is not located as favorably as other ranking liberal arts colleges, and one of the reasons alums, like me (P ‘19) send their kids back is BECAUSE of these unique traditions we cherished.

    Please keep what’s left.

  5. Class of 1984 Class of 1984 April 25, 2022

    Since when was Rotblatt one day? Do students now also only go traying on one specific night at 1:27 am each year? Is the Cave only open one night a semester? Is Mai Fete Island dry? Oh, so sad…

  6. Adam Shaukat Adam Shaukat April 26, 2022

    How can we fight back

    • JP Beaty '19 JP Beaty '19 April 26, 2022

      so true

  7. Kathy Kathy April 27, 2022

    “ the one single rule that Rotblatt has had since its inception: drink in hand, always”… I guess the students in the photo are rule breakers

    • Keli Meyer Berg Keli Meyer Berg April 29, 2022

      I don’t think that they are rule breakers. Is that Will as catcher? 🙂 I remember that you hit the ball first, then as you run to first base, somebody hands you a beer. You grab the beer, take a drink and run with it to first base. Keli

      • Kathy Kathy May 7, 2022

        I’m kidding! I thought it was a funny photo to choose because it directly contradicts the author’s main point. Even though it’s a great picture. Rules have evolved over time. That’s neat that you know the students pictured and remember the details of the game!

  8. Eric D Carlson Eric D Carlson April 29, 2022

    As one of the original founders of Rotblatt, I would like to point that in early days rotblatt was self funding, even eith nearly 30 games a season. And we got PE credit.

  9. Keli Meyer Berg Keli Meyer Berg April 29, 2022

    I don’t think that they are rule breakers. Is that Will as catcher? 🙂 I remember that you hit the ball first, then as you run to first base, somebody hands you a beer. You grab the beer, take a drink and run with it to first base. Keli

  10. Anonymous Anonymous April 30, 2022

    As an alumnus, I’m disappointed to see this meddling in the fundamentals of Rotblatt by the Carleton administration. Consequently, I’ll be pausing my annual donations.

  11. Samir Bhala, 2012 Samir Bhala, 2012 May 1, 2022

    First: The tradition that is Rotblatt does not at all resemble the original league.

    Second: The administration, like any organization, wants to CIA. It doesn’t excuse the hamhandedness, but it’s understandable why certain adults would rather not oblige hours’ long binge drinking.

    Third: How does Carleton enforce not soliciting donations? That must seems weird.

    Bottom line: Yeah, it sticks. But it doesn’t seem like there is any way to enforce this prohibition. Party on.

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