Campus officials: Torchlight parade on schedule

Devin Field

Kent Ogawa, marketing junior, walks along with other MSU students during the Torchlight Parade, where a fiery stampede of MSU students will make their way to the Homecoming Pep Rally and Bonfire, led by the MSU Cheerleaders and Golden Thunder Band. It started on the Comanche Trail by the Daniel Building Parking Lot and ended at the parking lot by the practice fields, Oct, 29, 2015. File photo by Francisco Martinez

After the events in Charlottesville, Virginia on Aug. 12, officials at University of Texas at Austin cancelled the torchlight parade on their campus. After both of these events, MSU officials debated whether to keep the MSU homecoming tradition.

“One of the main responses on why we are doing it is the tradition here,”Ruby Arriaga, activities coordinator, said. “It’s the pride and the spirit. The parade and the bonfire are things the students look forward to every year. They actually participated, got involved and it pumps them up for the game.”

A survey went out to students, administration and organizations asking if the torchlight parade should still continue.

“The main question was with the situation that happened in Charlottesville,” Mario Ramirez, student involvement director, said. “We felt it was necessary and appropriate to put out a survey, we felt that it could possibly reflect badly on the university if something is not said or done beforehand. This tradition has been around since 1985. We wanted to make sure that the students were comfortable in continuing it.”

A task force was put together for the purpose of finding information and to come up with a solution to continue it or not.

Task force members were charged with three goals: find out why we do the bonfire, determine if the university should continue it and research the history of torchlight parades.

“We all did research to make sure it was something that we should continue,” Ramirez said.

Twitter poll posted on Oct. 13.

The response rate was high as far as how many people said yes we should continue it.

“We should still have the torchlight parade because we are not using it for a protest,” Keyana Williams, kinesiology freshman, said. “We are using it for a fun cause, homecoming of all things.”

Because the torchlight parade is an event that could possibly injure someone, there will be extra staffing, however, they are not changing security because of the event in Charlottesville.

“During this parade we always have staff members help out,” Arriaga said. “I am putting staff members in places around the parade to make sure everyone is doing okay. We haven’t had a separate meeting right now but we will talk about it Wednesday.”

Housing, Resident Assistant’s, MSU police, fire department and staff will be helping throughout the entire parade and throughout the bonfire to ensure student’s safety.

“We are not doing anything different except that we did a task force, and found out what the students were thinking,” Ramirez said. “We are moving forward with it.”