Ohio State students should be ready to wear a wristband Tuesday if they even want to watch the Mirror Lake jump.
OSU officials are moving forward with increased safety and security efforts on Mirror Lake jump night after the death of a former OSU student earlier this semester prompted a conversation about how to handle the annual event.
Tushar Shriram Kabre, age 28, died Sept. 19 at the Wexner Medical Center after being pulled from Mirror Lake Aug. 18 and placed in the Intensive Care Unit in critical condition. His cause of death was near drowning, but his manner of death is undetermined, Franklin County Coroner Jan Gorniak said.
OSU Administration and Planning spokeswoman Lindsay Komlanc said in an August email that Kabre “received a masters of science in chemistry degree in Autumn 2011” but he was not currently enrolled at the university.
Jumping in Mirror Lake before the OSU football game against the University of Michigan is a university tradition, but it is not a university-sanctioned event. The Mirror Lake jump is scheduled for Tuesday this year.
The weather forecast predicts a high of 36 degrees and a low of 26, with a 30 percent chance of snow.
OSU Student Life Vice President Javaune Adams-Gaston’s weekly message from Student Life Sunday made clear the university is going to increase its security efforts.
“Access will be granted to those with Beat Michigan wristbands … beginning at 6:30 p.m. through one designated entry point and there will be several exit points,” the message read. “Wristbands are needed even for those who are only watching. Students who are incapacitated and unable to care for themselves may not be granted entry.”
The wristbands will be given out at the Ohio Union from Sunday at 11 a.m. until Tuesday and students must have a BuckID to receive one.
The wristbands also give students access to free food at the Beat Michigan festival Tuesday on the South Oval, which will have activities including a zip line and an interactive graffiti mural.
The message said that while free food will be available to the first 4,000 attendees, for “access to food (students) must pick up a Beat Michigan wrist band.”
Adams-Gaston’s message also included a note encouraging students not to jump.
“We are aware that some of you may be planning to jump into Mirror Lake (Tuesday). We do not encourage you to jump, especially due to the extreme cold temperatures that are expected. However, the wellbeing of Ohio State students is our top priority and we will take efforts to make sure this activity is managed in a way that maintains appropriate levels of safety and security,” the message read.
Adams-Gaston listed tips for students considering the jump, including suggesting that students do not drink, they stay within the designated jump area and they stay with a buddy.
OSU Undergraduate Student Government President Taylor Stepp tweeted about the plan from his account @TaylorStepp after the message was released.
“It is terrible that we have ‘procedure’ for Mirror Lake Night, but here it is,” the tweet read, along with a link to the Student Life message and a request for students to pass the message along.
Other OSU students took to social media Sunday as well to voice their displeasure with the plan.
OSU Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs had said Tuesday the university’s treatment of this year’s jump was not yet nailed down.
“Any time such a tragic incident occurs, it will prompt renewed consideration of how we can best ensure safety and security. University leaders have been in conversation about how we can best ensure any activities, informal or organized, around Mirror Lake are as safe as possible,” Isaacs said.
Despite the lack of university endorsement, there is typically an increased police presence in the area and lights are set up to illuminate the lake. Last year, University Police, Columbus Division of Police, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Columbus Division of Fire, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and MedCorp Mobile Medical Services were present at the Nov. 20 jump.
University Police Chief Paul Denton said Tuesday, though, the OSU Department of Public Safety’s efforts will likely be the same.
“In terms of our security efforts, we’ve always maintained a good security effort for (the Mirror Lake jump). There’s nothing we would do anything different for (that) event in terms of police presence,” Denton said.
He added that public safety coverage will be “pretty typical.”
“If it occurs, we’ll be prepared certainly … We don’t really encourage people to participate,” he said. “We work it every year and move forward.”