COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -- Texas A&M University's annual bonfire will be put on hold for two years while administrators and students work on guidelines to provide better supervision and engineering of the structure.
University President Ray Bowen announced the move Friday.
It comes seven months after the 2-million pound assemblage of logs, standing close to 60-feet tall, collapsed during construction, killing 12 students and injuring 27 others.
''When the tradition does resume, in 2002 at the earliest, the bonfire will be far smaller and the construction will be much more professionally run,'' Bowen said.
A five-member commission appointed and funded by Texas A&M to investigate the deaths blamed flawed construction techniques and a lack of adequate supervision of students building the stack.
Bowen said he understands his decision to postpone the hallowed tradition could spur students to sponsor their own, unauthorized bonfire off-campus.
''If there is a group that wants to do that, we would give them advice and explain all the legal liabilities involved with that,'' Bowen said. ''But on reflection, they probably won't do it.''
Students have led bonfire construction with minimal university input since its inception in 1909. The proposed changes force students to relinquish some of the control over bonfire they had.
But Bowen, himself an A&M graduate, stressed Friday that the bonfire will continue to be a student project -- with a few adjustments.
In the future, the event will require an annual safety compliance review, a two-week construction period and change in how student leaders are chosen. The logs will be purchased and delivered, as opposed to the usual student harvesting.
The bonfire also would return to an earlier design, a shorter, teepee-shaped log stack, as oppose to the four-tiered, wedding-cake design that was a factor in the Nov. 18 collapse.
A task force of students, faculty and staff will be formed in September to develop a plan for a 2002 bonfire. Their plan is due in Bowen's office by April 2001.
This fall's bonfire will be replaced by a memorial service and another event in 2001.
Bowen said his decision to keep the bonfire but modify it strikes a compromise between the feelings of zealous and tradition-rooted Aggies and voices of caution calling for drastic change.
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