Dolphy Day, Apology Accepted


By Ken D'Angelo '71, Staff Writer

In the last issue of this fine publication there was, hidden away on the back page, an apology for not having input from any of the participants of the first “Dolphy Day.” I was a participant in that first collective thumbing of our noses to the powers that we allow to run this joint. As such, I will give to you the whole truth  as much as my aged memory will allow.

First let me state that much to my shame, I had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of the festival. I proudly admit to being an enthusiastic participant. I was walking to Foery Hall when I noticed a large group of fellow students sitting in lawn chairs, couches that had been dragged out of apartments, and chairs borrowed from the dining hall. In the center of this happy group was, to my amazement and delight, a beer keg. At this point a little historical perspective is needed. This place was very different from what it is today. Alcoholic beverages were forbidden in the dorms. There were no co-ed dorms. Visitation between male and female students in dorm rooms was a serious no-no. Up until two years prior there was a dress code for class attendance. Many of the young men here, including this writer, were in the position of being drafted into the Army to visit the warm and lovely region of Southeast Asia where we would engage in political discussions with the native population. The basic format for this debate was M-16 vs. AK-47. We had a lot to be rebellious about. I know an opportunity when I see one. I joined in with the killing of the keg. As each keg was emptied we tossed in what money we had and bought another. As the day wore on it became more and more difficult to find a driver who could pass a field sobriety test. Eventually there was a transition to liquor. “The rest is darkness.” That’s how I remember it.

It wasn’t called “Dolphy Day.”  As far as I can recall it didn’t have a name. If it did, it would have been “Cut Class and Get Drunk Day.” It was a day of rebellion and fun that had nothing to do with Eric Dolphy. There was music, frisbee tossing, enjoyment of the sun and relaxing with a lovely assortment of alcoholic beverages, …lots and lots of alcoholic beverages. The wailing and gnashing of teeth that emanated from some of the faculty about the loss of a day of class was drowned out by stereos blaring Motown hits. This mini Bacchanal was never meant to be for one solitary day in the academic calendar.

If you want to have a REAL Dolphy Day I would get rid of this administratively controlled or approved activity. It was created to be a total disregard of authority. I suggest that the participants who want to renew the original spirit of the event take a large tarp and use it to cover up the statue of Eric Dolphy. I have several old tarps in my basement which I would be willing to donate to such a noble undertaking. Dolphy Day belongs to the students. Take it back! You are all very bright young people. Think of harmless ways to make the administration crazy. The veiling of Eric Dolphy is just one idea and the only one I’m going to give you. Give bent to your creativity and happily listen to the cries of anguish and frustration emanating from administrative offices across campus.

This year I plan on participating with enthusiasm in “Cut Class and Get Drunk Day” with all of you. I plan on showing you that even though I turn 67 years old this week I can still party as hard as I did when I was an undergrad here. The problem at my age is the recovery time. That’s a bitch.