Students protest NQR’s end with Res Quad run
Published: Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 15:03
Dozens of students last night engaged in a partially nude run around the Res Quad in a peaceful, sober protest against University President Lawrence Bacow's decision to end the annual Naked Quad Run (NQR), typically held in mid-December to celebrate the end of classes.
The students, brought together by texts, e-mails and Facebook event messages circulated throughout the day, were cheered on by clothed bystanders. Most participants were not nude upon arrival at the Res Quad, but many shed their clothes when they saw that the Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) officers at the run were remaining inside their squad cars.
Participants and onlookers called the impromptu run a show of dissent against the administration's decision to cancel NQR because of safety concerns.
"I feel like this proves that they can't stop it. It's going to happen next year. You're going get more people than this, especially after people realize that nothing happened to anybody who ran tonight," one freshman male runner, who preferred to remain anonymous, said.
Sophomore Howie Levine, who did not participate in the run but came to the Res Quad last night to ensure there was an impartial witness to the run, said he was impressed with the TUPD's restraint.
"They decided not to arrest people and people protested without drinking and did a pretty responsible job of it," he said. "I respect the protests, and I respect TUPD for it."
The runners stopped after twenty minutes and the Res Quad was deserted by 10:30 p.m.
Programming Board and the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate yesterday issued an e-mail to the student body announcing a contest to create a replacement event for NQR.
Programming Board Chair Sarah Habib and TCU President Sam Wallis sent the e-mail on behalf of their respective organizations, saying they hope to foster a new tradition to replace NQR.
Students have until April 1 to submit their proposals, which will then be judged by a group of students chaired by Wallis and Habib.
Wallis and Habib, both seniors, emphasized that they want the student body to take the lead in conceiving this new event.
"There are so many creative people on this campus; let's put our heads together and come up with something new," Habib said. "Traditions are made everyday … we can create an event that strikes a balance between safety and students' morale."
Wallis hopes that this will be a unifying process.
"This allows us the opportunity to engage alumni who were here and had other traditions, which may have died; we'll look at some of those," Wallis said. "We want to tie the community together with a new replacement, rather than split us up into different groups, and come to a nice consensus at the end."
Wallis stressed that the organizers had no preconceived notion of what the replacement event would entail, although criteria like creativity, viability and the embrace of school spirit and tradition would come into play.
Habib cited examples like a winter carnival or concert as possible options but similarly emphasized that the organizers wanted to hear from students. She added, before the protest run, that she preferred students to concentrate on a constructive solution in wake of NQR's cancellation.
"I don't think it's representative of the entire student body," Habib said. "I understand why students are upset; I'm right there with them. But personally, I think the best solution to the problem is not to protest, but use that energy to move forward and come up with a new event."
Wallis is confident that the replacement event will take hold as a new component of the Tufts experience, adding that events like Fall Ball and Winter Bash had been created in a similar fashion.
Habib said that with the right support, a new event would take root.
"I think that if we are committed to putting resources behind the event, it will still exist five years from now," she said.
The organizers plan to announce the winning event proposal by the end of the semester at a celebration in Hotung Café. The winners will receive an Apple iPad.
Both Wallis and Habib expect to receive a significant number of proposals and said that response to the competition has been positive so far.
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