On Saturday, a group of Binghamton University students plan to partake in “New Parade Day,” a bar crawl designed for students who missed the city of Binghamton’s Parade Day on March 4. More than 1,000 students have already responded as “going” to the event’s page on Facebook.
This semester, BU introduced a new winter break that directly overlapped with the city of Binghamton’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. Because residence halls were shut down for the duration of the long weekend, many students had no option but to go home for the time off.
The University has discouraged students from participating in the new Parade Day. L.C. Coghill, BU’s director of fraternity and sorority life, sent an email to Greek social organizations, expressing his disappointment with the event. Coghill explained that the city of Binghamton and the Binghamton Police Department do not approve of the event, and that police will have little tolerance for “questionable behavior.”
“Any chapters found to be in violation of the student code of conduct will be dealt with swiftly,” Coghill wrote in the email. “On a personal note, I think this whole thing is absurd and I am extremely disappointed that our community is buying into a scheme that has been created to promote binge drinking. We can do better than this.”
He also stated that he would be contacting the national organizations of these chapters and encouraging them to remind their BU chapters about rules governing “social events and risk management.”
The organizer of the event, who asked to remain anonymous, came up with the idea of the new Parade Day as a joke, but many of his friends liked the concept. Once he converted the idea into a Facebook page and it began to attract hundreds of likes, the event began to materialize.
“I just took it upon myself to do it, and it was pretty quick,” he said. “Once I made the Facebook page, it really blew up.”
Since the announcement of the event about a month ago, the new Parade Day has become a controversial topic. On Facebook and other online forums, Binghamton residents and students have been arguing over the merits of the event.
Some local residents have argued that students affected by the closing of residence halls are likely underage in any case. Many have said that students do not care about Irish pride or the parade tradition, but instead just want an excuse to day-drink.
“Parade day is about sending off our pipers and fellow people who participate in parades all over. It’s about family and being proud of being Irish. It’s not a reason to have a bar crawl,” said Lainey Laz, a local resident, on the new Parade Day Facebook page.
Many students retorted that the break was unfairly planned. They said that Parade Day is a tradition for students as well, and that they are supporting the local economy.
Some also took issue with the BU Greek life office’s strong condemnation of the event.
“The Greek life office has been pressuring us not to participate by outwardly condemning the new date and threatening sanctions,” said Glenn Rohan, a senior majoring in philosophy, politics and law and the president of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. “I am of legal drinking age and so are many of my brothers, and frankly it’s offensive that the administration would overstep and attempt to control our personal decisions outside the realm of the University.”
The student organizer said he acknowledges that not all local residents are opposed to the event, and that he wanted to remind all students to act responsibly this weekend.
“I just want everyone to be smart, stay safe and definitely make it a point to respect the Downtown area,” he said. “This was in no way an act of retaliation against the school. [We are] just looking for another way to celebrate Parade Day.”