Full Moon on the Quad, one of Stanford’s most beloved and widely-known traditions, has been cancelled for the first time in its history. Vice Provost for Student Affairs Greg Boardman cited health concerns connected with the H1N1 flu, or “swine flu,” in his announcement of the event’s cancellation on September 22. Boardman said it would be “unconscionable” for Stanford to allow Full Moon to go forward in the face of these concerns.
Though Boardman made reference to the “virulence” of the swine flu, Reuters and others reported in mid-September that the virus is in fact no more dangerous than the seasonal flu. This has led some Stanford students to believe that University administrators are merely using the epidemic as an excuse to cancel an event that they “have been wanting to cancel permanently for a long time,” as Mina Bionta ’10 put it. These students feel that Full Moon surviving as long as it did is close to a miracle given the University’s remarkable propensity for destroying fun wherever it may crop up.
Boardman’s decision, which he made following a recommendation by senior managers at Vaden Health Center, Residential Education, Student Life, and Student Activities and Leadership, has drawn backlash from a wide swath of Stanford students. “I’m really sad that [Full Moon] was cancelled because I was looking forward to experiencing the event as a senior,” said Bionta. Some students, such as Dean Schaffer ’10, objected to the cancellation on purely philosophical grounds—“This [cancellation] really offends my laissez-faire tendencies.” And others, including Kendra Peterson ’11, pointed to the anti-social tendencies of many Stanford students and lamented the loss of “the only opportunity for them to kiss.”
It is clear that this decision was made after much thought and with Stanford students’ best interests at heart. Most of the student body can surely appreciate that. However, it is unfortunate that lowering the risk of a flu outbreak on campus (which is still very likely) must come at the cost of losing one of Stanford’s greatest traditions. One can only hope that University administrators will think very carefully before robbing future classes of this unique experience as well.