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Opinion: Keep Mirror Lake jump for students

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Students take part in the annual Mirror Lake Jump on Nov. 22. Credit: Robert Scarpinito | Copy Chief

Students take part in the annual Mirror Lake Jump on Nov. 22. Credit: Robert Scarpinito | Copy Chief

You take a deep breath and feel the bare skin on your chest and shoulders expand against the cold November air as the skin on your arms tightens and the goosebumps rise.

It is midnight and you are standing in a crowd of thousands of college students. There are people yelling, drunkenly singing school songs and carrying school banners.

An old friend slaps you on the shoulder and together you jog forward to the edge of the water and jump in.

This isn’t the first Mirror Lake jump, and it won’t be the last, but for you, this night is a memory in the making.

In the wake of the tragedy that struck at this year’s Mirror Lake jump, it is likely that there will be a crackdown on the jump as university leadership looks to end the tradition.

The death of Austin Singletary was more than tragic — it was the avoidable death of a young person, and all the condolences of the OSU community should be given to his family and friends.

But his death does not make the entire student body accountable, and university officials are wrong when they try to make it a reason to end the Mirror Lake jump.

College is a time meant for perfecting your ability to make decisions on your own and becoming comfortable with taking responsibility for yourself.

Jumping into cold water on a November night should be seen by any rational person as a risk, and Singletary is a reminder that there are sometimes consequences of taking such a risk.

To ban good-natured, risk-taking behavior is to ban the spirit of going to college and the spirit of that grand crescendo of the end of one’s youth.

University leaders might have received complaints from parents who believe that not enough is done to keep their children safe. Thus, OSU leaders might have an impetus to take those parents’ voices a step further and make OSU a nanny to its students.

This is contradictory to the reasons why students go away to college and an insult to any OSU student who is comfortable taking care of his or herself.

Undergraduate Student Government’s support of ending the jump shows that the body is out of touch with the demands of the student population.

The student body is the life of the yearly jump, as OSU students continue the tradition every year.

Are there any signs that love for the jump has gone away since 2013 when there was a fence put up around Mirror Lake and students took down the fence in order to make an early jump?

The USG resolution for ending the jump, Resolution 48-R-21: A Resolution to Advocate for Student Safety by Ending the Mirror Lake Jump, says, “(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.”

This does not make any sense. Traditions are not delegated. Traditions begin naturally and organically out of the feelings of a community.

People will still want the Mirror Lake jump to continue, whether university leadership believes it is a good idea and whether USG is capable of stepping up to the plate for the student body.


  1. As an OSU graduate who attended in the early ’70s, before this so-called “tradition” began, I have always believed that sooner or later somebody would die because of it.

    Now, it has finally happened, and my thoughts and prayers are with the family of the student who senselessly lost his life.

    Incredibly, but not altogether unexpectedly, there are students, as this article indicates, who wish to continue this moronic and dangerous “tradition”, despite the fact that a life has been lost.

    If the loss of a life is not enough to convince these students that this “tradition” should end, then I would suggest that the university should drain Mirror Lake, fill it with dirt and plant grass on it. It would be a shame to lose one of the more beautiful spots on campus, but frankly it is not worth the death or serious injury of one more student.

  2. Brilliant essay from the same student that lamented about the work summer semester entails with this little gem: “If you sit back and think about it, this is awful because college is all about wasting time. Wasting time having fun, wasting time with friends and wasting time doing things that are only really a waste of time in the eyes of one’s inner workaholic.”

    You could have just posted that picture included with this story and it tells a better story than this whiny excuse for an editorial does.

    Hey Lantern, how about you just go back to complaining about how the University doesn’t babysit every portion of the University District for you? Undergraduates are talking out of both sides of their mouth when they complain about wanting constant public safety and investment into their off campus activities, but when that same kind of disregard for public safety comes ONTO campus… its a “tradition” that must not be interrupted.

  3. Attention Francis: The stupidity of your statements will come back to impact you in the future. You are young (and dumb) and when future potential employers do a simple search of your name on the internet, this column that you wrote while in college will reflect poorly on you. You should realize this.

    When you, or any other college-age writer starts a sentence with, “College is a time meant for” the reader just knows something illogical is coming. For your own sake, stop writing your thoughts in the public domain.

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