If I were a Stanford administrator, I probably would not have cancelled Full Moon on the Quad on the basis of H1N1 concerns. After all, every Full Moon carries its own panoply of health risks, including the traditional mono scare. Yet, despite these risks, previous generations of students freely chose to calibrate their level of participation in Full Moon, weighing the thrill of the festivities against the risk of falling ill. This year might have been no different, with just one extra bug in circulation.
But this year, the Stanford leadership made the tough decision to err on the side of caution. From their perspective, they faced an uncertain situation with H1N1, a bug that shared some of mono’s symptoms, but none of its predictability. In a best-case scenario, nothing might happen. But in a worst-case scenario, the latest virus mutation might kill several dozen Full Moon participants, possibly resulting in expensive litigation from angry Stanford parents. Why risk that disaster?
Given that the decision has already been made, however, it makes sense to look to future ideas rather than to the past. For example, it might make sense for the Stanford administration to involve the student body more closely on future developments. How much input were ordinary students and ASSU senators allowed to give on this issue? Could Full Moon have been postponed rather than cancelled? Would it have been possible to inform the student body of the risk of cancelling Full Moon at an earlier date—perhaps in mid-summer? Can Vaden provide numerical statistics on the risk of catching a bug—be it mono, H1N1, or something else?
In the meantime, I encourage everybody to have fun and to take care. Although the abrogation of this year’s party is regrettable, there are plenty of other outlets for having a good time. Nobody should allow the cancellation of Full Moon to deter them from having a meaningful and prosperous quarter. After all, we can always do it next year!
Chris Seck, Editor-in-Chief