Originally Published in Oct. 1988.
Traditionally, the third weekend in October is a time of much celebration in the normally staid university communities of Carleton and Ottawa. Students who are often accused of being apathetic suddenly develop a huge sense of school spirit as they hurl water balloons and obscenities across a football field. Lansdowne Park, for one Saturday in October, sees more fever-pitched excitement than it does in a whole season of professional ball with the ‘Riders.
Usually the week before Panda is spent planning the weekend — parties, space for
guests, and maybe even rescheduling homework, if that much ambition exists among students.
The inevitable dilemma arises — which parties to go to on Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday night. This year, however, will be different, because Panda XXXIV will take place on a Monday — Thanksgiving Monday — when a lot of students will be back in their hometowns, enjoying turkey
with their families.
Why? Because city administrators have finally become tired of the perpetual annual overindulgence of 15,000 students and, using last year’s half-time tragedy as an excuse, have implemented new rules regarding Panda.
They have limited the number of tickets available to each university to 4,000 and have decided that none will be sold at the gate.
If they are trying to curb the rowdiness, it would seem that they will be successful. To date only 400 tickets have been sold at the U of O.
All right, maybe the students who have taken part in Pandas past are guilty of overindulgence; maybe it is not necessary for 15,000 students to march along the canal, screaming obscenities, heaving bottles into the water and urinating on lawns. But all of this went on long before the thirty people tumbled to the tarmack last year due to faulty construction. The officials have reacted to one problem by assaulting another. Who knows, maybe another 30 people will spill over the railing this year. Then what happens?
The banning of university football?
No. The ‘solutions’ formulated by City Council are no more than robbery. They are robbing first year students of the right to take part in tradition. They are trying to kill Pedro.
Tighter security along the parade route would be a good way to curb the stupidity during the march. Stricter security at the gates and along the railings would help control what goes on in the stadium. But ace it. Until now there was no control, just containment. It was sort of an ‘as long as we can keep an eye on them they can’t hurt anybody,’ attitude.
Let’s prove we are responsible. Let’s party, party, party and not hurt anybody. Let’s watch the football game. But let’s keep the only social event on campus that everyone recognizes.
About this Article
- Originally published in 1988, this editorial was published in the year following the collapse of one of the guard rails during the 1987 Panda Game, after which roughly 30 students were rushed to hospital. Check out our archived post from 1987 here.
- The U of O scheduled the 1988 Panda Game over Thanksgiving weekend — a time when many students would be away from campus, visiting family.
- The heavy police presence, combined with the lowered number of ticket’s available for sale, led to a general lack of enthusiasm over the event.
- The Gees won the 1988 Panda Game 29-9, and would go on to win for the next five consecutive years.