University quells WestFest activity



Kelsey Ruane

The University’s elimination of the unsanctioned outdoor drinking event on West Campus during the traditional NovaFest weekend was successful, according to both Ryan Rost, assistant dean of students for Judicial Affairs, and Rev. John Stack, O.S.A., vice president for Student Life. After news of the University’s intended crackdown became public mid-March, it was unclear to students how April 24 would unfold. 

Student Life staff and Public Safety officers were present on West Campus on Saturday, including a dressed-down Rost, who said it was unprecedented for so many staff members to spend a Saturday on campus.

“When I went outside, I experienced the death of NovaFest,” junior Tara McLernan said. “It was depressing.”

“‘Nova Nation’s gettin’ rowdy,” joked junior Glenn McGillivray, as he looked around the space connecting the back four apartments, which was nearly empty except for a few students lounging in the grass and a Public Safety officer hovering nearby. The scene differed drastically from last year, when hundreds of students from all over campus migrated to West, while Public Safety waited until about 4 p.m. to clear the area.

“My Monday morning after last year’s NovaFest was very, very busy,” Rost said.

This year, however, Saturday was a slow day, according to one Public Safety officer stationed outside Klekotka Hall, who added that he thought the University was trying to send a message to students.

“I didn’t have any incidents,” said junior Will Clifford, a resident assistant in Welsh Hall. “It was a  quiet [Saturday] night.”

The entrance to West Campus was limited on Saturday to those with West Campus permits, according to Director of Public Safety David Tedjeske. 

Radnor Police were not patrolling West Campus, according to Rost.

 “Students were doing laundry, homework and playing wiffle ball — it appeared like a normal, beautiful Saturday,” Rost said.

“Last weekend showed that the student body can be trusted,” junior Kevin Speirs said. “The steps taken were both patronizing and unnecessary.”

Students did not understand the harm that had been done in previous years, according to Stack, who added that the University may not have communicated that well enough. 

“There were some serious incidents in each of the last few years,” Stack said. “I think one of the reasons students were upset was because they weren’t aware of all that.”

Stack said that students weren’t happy with the e-mail he sent out notifying them of this year’s changes. 

 “Overall, I’m proud of Villanova students for respecting the administration’s decision,” said junior Bridget Halligan, the incoming student body president. “We found alternative locations to get together and celebrate our community.”

Student Body President and Vice President Dan Gelwicks and Spencer Curtis pulled Student Government Association support from the concert after the decision was made to use all NovaFest resources to secure a big act instead of holding other events. 

That decision was made without the input of students on the NovaFest committee, according to Gelwicks.

“We hope [the University] considers planning an event on campus next year,” Gelwicks said. “There needs to be more opportunities for students from all years to come together besides just at basketball games. When students look back on college, they wish they had more opportunities like that.”

“Next year, we will work with Public Safety, Student Life and CAT to create a new, safe Villanova tradition for all to participate in,” Halligan said. 

Doug Keith contributed reporting to this article.