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Epps Sinks Annual Raft Race

Cancels House Competition on Charles Due to Risk Involved

By Joshua W. Shenk

Ending what has become an annual spring tradition, Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III said yesterday he will cancel the House Raft Races this year and in the future, citing student injuries during last year's event.

The race, organized in recent years by the Undergraduate Council for the spring reading period, pits house against house in rafts specially constructed for the event. Rafters traditionally hurl eggs, tomatoes and other foodstuffs at each other during the race.

"We had a serious injury last year and we decided that it should not continue for reasons of liability," Epps said.

Wayne W. Yu '92, a member of the council's social committee, said the council will try to plan other spring activities. He said he thought Epps' logic was reasonable.

William L. Rhett '91, chair of the Adams House Committee, said Epps informed him of the cancellation at a meeting of all house chairs earlier this semester, Rhett said he and others were disappointed by the decision.

"It's a disappointment to all the people who really get into it," Rhett said. "[Cancelling the race] really stifles the whole process of getting people involved in the competition."

According to Yu, the council is still hoping that the traditional event will be reinstated next year. But he added that the council does not have plans for an activity to specifically replace the competition.

"I don't think that anything can take the place of the raft race," Yu said.

But Epps said he didn't expect to approve the race next year or anytime in the future. "We would like to use the river for spring celebrations, but it seems really difficult to control what goes on in the river," Epps said.

He added that the race has concerned him for several years, and that warning participants of possible hazards in the past years had not prevented injuries.

"We have tried to publish guide-lines about not throwing things, the use of alcohol and fighting, but the guidelines haven't worked," he said.

Maria C. Mendez '91 who raced on Mather House's raft last year, said she was also disappointed by the decision to cancel the race.

"I had a great time last year," Mendez said. "Our raft sunk and I was the only one that stayed on it, but I had a great time anyway."

The Leverett House raft took first place last year in the race.

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