We shouldn’t celebrate people for doing what they should have been doing anyway

Another March has come, and subsequently, another St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone. This one, however, was slightly different than how Laurier typically sees the holiday celebrated. On March 13, Laurier announced that due to COVID-19, the remainder of classes would be completed online. Shortly after this, on March 16, the school announced that the whole campus would shut down while classes were to be shifted to an  online format.

Before the announcements of the university shutting down, students were looking forward to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on Ezra Avenue with a street party. In 2019, 33,000 people flooded the streets and it was originally expected that the turnout this year would be even more.

But as COVID-19 forced officials to tell  people to socially distance and stay inside, a lot of people were warning students not to part take in the gathering for the safety of others. These warnings came from other students via Twitter, through Spotted at Laurier (@SpottedLaurier), as well as through professors and other university staff.

St. Patrick’s has now come and gone, and no one was on Ezra Ave. that afternoon. But there is a debate happening on Spotted at Laurier: Do students deserve an apology for all the trash that was talked about them leading up to March 17?

Some people are asking for one while others are saying that it is completely unnecessary. One tweet stated “I think its dumb that people want an apology for others shaming the idea of Ezra and saying Laurier students don’t know better. Uni kids don’t know better. Don’t be naïve, someone set furniture on fire first day of school. What else would you expect.”

Laurier has done a lot to get students to not attend Ezra Ave. gatherings, and the City of Waterloo has become more strict in recent years due to the antics of the street every St. Patrick’s Day. Ezra has become known provincially as a street for parties, and the fact that each year the crowd grows shows exactly that. Ezra has even upgraded to having street parties occur on Homecoming, and in September 2019, a street party happened on the first day of school (this was the day of the furniture incident mentioned in the tweet above).

Personally, I do not see the need for an apology. Even the day prior to St. Patrick’s Day I heard people talking about Ezra and I was getting asked if I would be in attendance. I also know that last week, a lot of people were not taking social isolation seriously — and if people were not shamed into staying home, the party probably still would have happened.

I am not saying that the infamous party would have happened to its full capacity, but I do still think people would show up and try to have the party happen as normal. I think that while some people would understand the severity of the situation, I think a lot of students did not think about how them attending a street party last week could impact the other people in their lives.

Laurier students did something good by not attending Ezra Ave. that afternoon, but we should not be celebrated for not attending — it was the right and responsible thing to do.

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