Officials from Off-Campus Student Services, a subdivision of the Office of Student Life, have gone door-to-door on Chittenden Avenue informing students about safe party behavior, said Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president of student life.
Adams-Gaston said her main priority is ensuring the safety of all students and to avoid a situation similar to Woodfest ’11.
“We are always concerned for the education and safety of our students and so we wanted to ensure that our students understood that we want to help them stay safe,” Adams-Gaston said. “We want to educate them about issues that would be pertinent to them having social parties.”
Saturday evening into early Sunday morning, several houses organized Woodfest, a block party that spilled into the street, blocking traffic on East Woodruff Avenue between High Street and Indianola Avenue. Columbus police dispersed the party around midnight with the use of pepper spray.
At Woodfest, two OSU students and a Columbus State student were arrested and charged with assault on a police officer. The three students — Matthew Coleman, 19, majoring in biology, Brian Witt, 21, majoring in civil engineering and Michael Shivak, 21 — have all posted bond and have a court date set for May 25, according to court documents.
Several attempts to reach Witt and Coleman, the OSU students involved, were unsuccessful.
Officials from the Off-Campus Student Services went into the community this week to inform students about safe party behavior.
“I am aware of (ChittShow 2011). Our off-campus student housing staff have gone out and visited those students and just to help them think about, talk about safe party behavior,” Adams-Gaston said.
ChittShow 2011 is a block party, organized through Facebook, planned for Saturday night on Chittenden Avenue.
Some students acknowledged the email but said they didn’t think many others would take it seriously.
“I definitely don’t think anyone who the safety email was actually meant for will take it seriously,” said Matt Wehrle, a first-year in mechanical engineering. “The incident with Woodfest more than likely just hyped kids up and made them want to party more. Because let’s face it, attending a party that was busted by the cops where people got Maced makes for a pretty cool story to tell people.”
Speaking about students’ plans to participate in ChittShow, Adams-Gaston said she did not see the incident at Woodfest as a continuing problem.
“We do not see this as a sustained problem. Woodfest was a one-time incident, it was isolated,” Adams-Gaston said.
Besides the warning email Adams-Gaston sent to students on Wednesday, USG president and vice-president, Nick Messenger and Emily DeDonato, sent a warning to all students, through an email titled “Throw parties, not cans,” stressing some of the same issues as Adams-Gaston’s email.
“We encourage students to have fun, party and celebrate the end of the quarter with friends. As you plan parties, please keep in mind that you represent the greatest university in the nation, and it is important to take responsible steps in making sure all of your guests are enjoying themselves as safely as possible,” Messenger and DeDonato said in the email.
Adams-Gaston said she is aware that students enjoy throwing parties and socializing, she just hopes they will do so in a responsible manner.
“We know that our students are engaged in fun activities every weekend,” she said. “I feel that our students are students who want to be engaged in good positive community relations.”
Maria McGillivary contributed to this story.