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Maintain spirit of senior tradition

Observer Editorial | Wednesday, October 22, 2003

This weekend, two sets of perennial rivals will face-off in Notre Dame Stadium. Fans who paid to see Notre Dame play USC will also see stadium personnel and students clash over the senior tradition of a half time marshmallow fight.

At the Michigan State game, students were ejected and had their ticket booklets confiscated for throwing the soft projectiles. Not since Ghostbusters has such a concerted effort been made against the light, spongy, sweet confection.

The motivation behind the crackdown is protecting the safety of the venue’s patrons and employees. Coordinator of stadium personnel Cappy Gagnon said that people put rocks and coins inside the marshmallows, making them dangerous.

But the policy of ejecting any student who is caught possessing or throwing marshmallows is the equivalent of sending an entire fire department battalion to put out a Boy Scout’s campfire. The problem isn’t with students who toss marshmallows – it is with students who maliciously toss water bottles or marshmallows with rocks inside of them. Instead of issuing a blanket policy against tossing marshmallows – thus eliminating a time-honored Notre Dame senior tradition – Stadium personnel should use the video cameras and other technology available to them to punish those who throw objects that could harm others.

Students have a role in solving the problem, too. They must recognize the officials’ legitimate safety concerns and not put objects inside any marshmallows they throw or throw water bottles or other objects. But until the marshmallow policy is clarified, students who choose to participate in the tradition Saturday should do so knowing it may cost them their place in the Stadium.