September 1, 2023 | OPINION | By Anonymous

Dear Campus Community,

Nothing better exemplifies Colorado College’s unique character than the Croooz. Most of you know what it is – it may be our most renowned tradition. As we joyfully ride bikes around town and dance under the stars, our community grows stronger. That sense of solidarity, of freedom, of unity, is important in any student’s journey to becoming a full-fledged adult.

Unfortunately, the state of our union is faltering.

We approach you with love, with respect, and with the spirit of courageous conversations. As our school’s official “Our History” page says, “The conventions in which the school was based upon continue to live through the current college’s students, faculty, and staff.” Put simply, for this to be true, we need to ensure the survival of our “proud tradition” and “progressive culture.”

The symbolic importance of Croooz cannot be overstated. But, to truly comprehend the tradition’s significance, you need to understand its context.

In a 2018 article in The Catalyst, writer Heather Rolph shed some light on the “Full Moon Cruisers” of a bygone era, five whole years ago. While the tradition originated multiple decades past, this pre-pandemic account feels like a historical relic. Now, we live in a new era. The pandemic unfortunately exacerbated the desires of those in positions of power to phase out the concept of personal responsibility. These tendencies have been extended, quite visibly, to Croooz.

It started with the garage.

Rolph wrote, “Suddenly, back into town they went, up to the top of a parking garage in the middle of downtown for a last dance and howl, plus a Conga line so energetic that the entire pavement parking lot of the garage started to bounce.” That’s how it was, and that’s how it should be.

On one fateful Croooz last year, the walls of the empty garage began to flicker with orange and yellow lights. Confused heads started to turn. As a for-profit corporate security car rounded the final corner, the crowd froze. It was like first contact with an alien civilization. As quickly as everyone froze, the music picked up and people started to dance again. Ten minutes later, the crowd departed without incident.

Little did they know, that day had changed Croooz forever. Soon, two private security cars showed up. Then three. Then a police car. Then two. Before they knew it, our CC community found themselves hounded out of the garage by 10 or so squad cars, which felt like the entire Colorado Springs Police Department. What if actual crimes were being committed at that time? Who knows, because the entire on-duty Downtown police force had converged on a group of college kids who were riding bikes and dancing.

Message received. We know; law enforcement exists to protect private property. This time, the Croooz did not even try the Downtown garage. Instead, as students approached CC’s own empty, little-used Ed Robson Arena garage, they found themselves facing down a megaphone-equipped Campus Safety blockade.

The recent crackdowns have been, to say the least, unfortunate. And we are under no delusions that this piece will dissuade future crackdowns. However, understand this: When you crack down on Croooz, you crack down on CC’s character, you crack down on CC’s “proud tradition,” you crack down on CC’s “progressive culture.”  

Yes, Croooz is inherently dangerous. But so are varsity sports, so is climbing, so is hiking, so are all the athletic and adventurous activities that our institution is famous for. College exists to prepare people for the real world, a world that demands self-sufficiency and personal responsibility. When you diminish Croooz, you diminish the non-academic learning experiences that make a CC education so special.

To those who disapprove of Croooz, we know you are good people. We know you are trying to do the right thing. We hope that, before reading this, you did not understand the implications of your actions. And we hope that you will be able to tolerate future, safer Crooozes in a way that allows CC’s institutional spirit to thrive.

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