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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

CSA hosts town hall meeting on traditions

<aditions were the subject of the town hall meeting held by CSA last Wednesday. Traditions are usually at the will of the community from which they originate. As Eric Hillman, the Carleton Archivist, says, “Tradition is what’s formed in a community over time” and Carleton has its fair share of different traditions. But as the community changes, so can traditions. Some of Carleton’s customs have survived over the years; others have been born and died with the generation they came from. Hillman shared some of Carleton’s traditions and how they have transformed over time, including Rottblatt, the May Day Pageant (now more commonly known as Spring Concert), and the Parish House Halloween Party.  He also spoke of Carleton traditions that have ceased to exist, like the Slave Auction, Frosh Hazing, and the Catacombs Graffiti Hall.  The main reasons these three traditions died out were safety issues, and changing of social norms.

Keeping the student body safe is one of Carleton’s main priorities, but so is maintaining the quirky traditions that keep Carleton true to character. This became a point of discussion between the students and the faculty during the town hall meeting. Namely, a fair balance between students’ safety while upholding fun traditions emerged as a central issue. For example, about ten years ago, a student almost died while pursuing Schiller in a car. While the administration hasn’t dissolved the Schiller tradition, they have had to modify the rules so that no students get critically injured while partaking in the quest for Schiller.

However, students at the town hall meeting felt like some changes to certain traditions, like the “Heaven and Hell” dance being renamed “Purgatory” and being relocated to The Cave from Evans Hall, were a bit too extreme. Students wondered if such changes were simply a case of a Carleton tradition going through a metamorphosis, or whether the administration has become too strict.

The solution is not so simple. Participants at the town hall meeting concluded that while some traditions at Carleton die of natural causes, others are purposefully terminated. The way to appease both parties, the students and the administration, is to keep the lines of communication open. Students want to have fun and administration wants students to enjoy their traditions, but safely and with caution. The trick will be to find a happy medium.

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