Parade policy needs better execution


Editorial Board

At issue:Groups get into heated argument during Hobo Day parade over parade policy.

Our view:Policy needs to be executed better, but both parties should have handled the situtation better.

The Hobo Day parade is supposed to be a time for students and alumni to celebrate the spirit of the season with bands, booze and crazy floats. But sometimes, politics gets in the way and the magic is gone.

The Hobo Committee’s parade policy contains a section that prohibits floats from promoting political messages.

This being a politically charged year, many organizations wanted to have floats in the Hobo Day parade, yet not all floats were well-informed on that policy. So when a Right to Life float started to line up with its views of abortion clearly stated on the float, it upset Scott Pedersen, professor and adviser to a new student group which seems to be created to balance conservative influence on campus.

Pedersen was so upset he caused a ruckus to end the campaigning and prohibit the float from being in the parade.

Maryz Rames, vice president of student affairs, stepped in, and after more drama and a few adjustments, both floats were allowed to continue through the parade.

Pedersen had a right to be mad. The policy is there for a reason, and it wasn’t being followed.

This year was especially politically charged because of such heated measures like the abortion ban and a well-executed policy would have come in handy. There won’t be such political drama every year, but the Hobo Day Committee needs to consistently execute the plan or it won’t be followed in years like this.

The entire policy is murky and should be clearer, but this problem was about execution. The committee needs to clear up the policy and then make sure it is carefully followed.

That being said, Pedersen shouldn’t have acted the way he did. Yelling and making a public scene is only going to make things more complicated. There were better ways to handle the situation. As a university professor, Pedersen should have known better.

His float was also playing fast-and-loose with parade policy. It may not have had blunt signs encourage a specific vote, but it made some clear comments about religion that some could take politically. Also, his float wasn’t decorated and that violates float regulations.

The Hobo Day parade is about being proud to be a part of the South Dakota’s best university, in an election year or not. The parade is for the students and no one should ruin that with their political agendas.