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Learn from Woodfest: Party responsibly

Courtesy of Amanda Grunenwald

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As I’m sure everyone on campus has already heard, a party on Woodruff got just a little out of hand on Saturday night. Now, I wasn’t there – I was nestled snug in my bed watching Disney movies – but I think there are several contributing factors that we as a community need to discuss. I think it’s safe to say that no one is particularly interested in having something like this happen again (especially not the guys who had their mug shots on the front page of The Lantern on Monday), and I think the best way to keep this to a one-time-only deal is to examine why it happened in the first place.

I’m sure a lot of college students have been at a party that got out of control. A couple people have too much to drink, someone says something mildly offensive that gets blown way out of proportion or maybe a fight breaks out. Normally though, when the party is contained within someone’s house the problem gets settled pretty quickly – and when it’s at a bar, it can be contained even more quickly. But when that party has overflown into the streets, and everyone’s feeling festive because the weather has finally decided to give us spring (which it has, sadly, since revoked), and reveling in celebrating their street, it’s easy to see how that can be much harder to contain.

Do I think that the partiers handled themselves appropriately? No, of course not. Do I think that the police handled themselves appropriately? Absolutely not. This was one of those cases where a small situation, which could easily have been dealt with, was allowed to mushroom out of proportion into a larger problem which was much harder to control. If the partiers had kept themselves under control, if the police had stopped things before they got absolutely insane, if the partiers hadn’t retaliated, if the police hadn’t overreacted, then the situation would have been completely different.

We can examine all the ‘ifs’ in the world, and I don’t think that will give us any answers. What we need to do is step back and analyze what did happen, and what we can do better next time. The partiers the other night showed a distinct lack of respect for both themselves and the police. As drunk as you may be, you need to have control over your actions, because you will be held responsible for them. No matter how angry you are that the police are breaking up your party, it doesn’t help anyone to attack the police – it certainly won’t keep them from breaking up the party.

I’m well aware that partying is a pretty major part of campus life here at Ohio State, and I’m in no way suggesting that people stop partying. But alcohol can magnify problems, and it’s not an excuse to let yourself get out of control. Part of handling alcohol maturely is learning how to stop drinking when you need to, and how to keep yourself under control. I think that’s a lesson that everyone needs to learn.

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