When Tarleton hosts St. Mary’s on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Division II Tournament on Saturday, one crucial element could be missing - the students.
Tarleton’s spring break policy mandates all students must be out of the residence halls by 5 p.m. on Friday. Only students living in the Texan Village residence hall are allowed to stay for the break.
Drew Eubank, a student who lives in Traditions Hall, strongly disagrees with the Department of Residential Living and Learning’s policy that no students can stay in residence halls unsupervised during various university holidays.
"Students should be able to stay in the dorms longer," says Eubank. "Our team is representing Tarleton in a national tournament where a strong fan showing could propel them to the Elite Eight, or even further."
Drew’s desire to stay in the residence halls is shared by many students at Tarleton. Cory Flores, a freshman from Rule, would also like to stay.
"Tarleton has a great basketball tradition and to deny students the right to stay in our rooms - which we have already paid for - so we can support our team is ridiculous," says Flores. "I want to help Tarleton win the national championship."
At a meeting of the Student Government Association on Monday, Tarleton students and representatives voiced their opinions, and were unanimously in favor of working with Residential Living and Learning on a compromise to allow students to stay in the residence halls until the tournament is over.
Tarleton Student Body President Brady Pendleton voiced his opinion.
"It is an absolute honor to have Tarleton selected to host the NCAA South Central Regional Tournament this weekend," said Pendleton. "I think it would be to the benefit of Tarleton State University to allow students to at least stay until the end of the tournament."
The main problem in the situation is that it needs to be rectified very quickly, and policy issues generally take some time to correct. Tournament play starts Saturday, and students must know what will be done so they can make plans accordingly.
According to the president’s office at Tarleton, Dr. Dennis McCabe has been notified of the situation and has issued a directive to Tarleton Housing director Elizabeth Wallace urging her to accommodate the students wishing to stay. The way in which they are accommodated however, is up to the Residential Living and Learning Department.
"This is a one-time special event," said a spokesperson for Dr. McCabe’s office. "It is a great honor to host this event."
Whatever solution the university comes to, it must take into consideration the amount of positive publicity that a deep tournament run could provide for Tarleton and its students.
"This is a once in a life-time event," says Flores, "and I want to be there to support the Texans."