The Undergraduate Student Government General Assembly voted in support of ending the standing tradition of the Mirror Lake Jump with 35 aye, 6 nay and 6 abstained votes on Wednesday night.
The resolution was drafted following the death of Austin Singletary, a third-year in human nutrition, who passed away from injuries sustained during the jump.
Resolution 48-R-21: A Resolution to Advocate for Student Safety by Ending the Mirror Lake Jump moves to end the event and also moves that “the (USG) will make every effort to support a new tradition created by the students that celebrates our university while respecting the safety of its students.”
“Historically, the purpose of student government at OSU has been to come up with and maintain campus traditions, so it’s perfectly within our review to be looking at this,” said the sponsor of the resolution, Joseph Warnimont, a second-year in aerospace engineering and the engineering senator in the general assembly.
Warnimont said that USG is looking at the response to the current tragedy because they don’t want to promote a new tradition while people are still mourning.
Several members of the general assembly debated for about an hour whether to end the tradition, often paying tribute to Singletary’s memory.
Emmy Wydman, a third-year in business and the Fisher College of Business senator in USG, spoke on behalf of herself and Singletary’s hometown community of Dayton.
“We all think that everything will be fine and should continue as is until the tragedy happens to you and to your loved ones,” she said. “It seems like the obvious choice to eradicate an optional activity that caused the death of a student and an activity that I feel can not be offered safely.”
The passing of this resolution echoed the stance made by USG President Abby Grossman and USG Vice President Abby Waidelich in a statement made on the day of Singletary’s death, which read, “There are Buckeye traditions that have been around for decades, while some have only been around for a few short years. With the cancellation of the annual Mirror Lake jump, we are dedicated to working with our student community to create a new tradition to unite all Buckeyes during the Beat Michigan week.”
Many members took the same stance as Grossman and Waidelich, stating that they believed loss of life was enough reason to abolish this unsafe tradition and to begin new ones.
While the majority of the general assembly spoke of their support of the resolution, a small number of representatives questioned their role as members of USG and whether this was the best decision acting on behalf of the student body. David Glass, a third-year in agribusiness and applied economics and the Regional Campus Emissary, was one of the few that questioned if the resolution accurately reflected student opinion.
“I totally believe that this was a complete tragedy and I send my condolences to Austin’s family, but the reason I voted ‘no’ was because I believe that (USG) is the official voice of the student population, and from what I could tell the student body did not support this resolution,” Glass said. “If anything, I think we did not have a solid idea if the student body did or did not support this resolution.”
Levi Cramer, a third-year in political science and the senior director of governmental affairs said in a speech during the discussion that the Mirror Lake jump is not what makes students Buckeyes.
“We are Buckeyes because we come together to share our rivalry with the University of Michigan,” Cramer said. “These events are not what make us Buckeyes, but rather the camaraderie that we experience being students at the best university in the United States. Camaraderie is not achieved by risking our lives, but rather in the protection of the well-being of our brothers and sisters.”