Thousands of Ohio State Students Defy Police Orders, Storm Barricades

Credit: ltenney1225 / Foter.com / CC BY-NCCredit: ltenney1225 / Foter.com / CC BY-NCCiting frustration with overzealous safety rules, thousands of Ohio State University students defied police orders and stormed through barricades to participate in an annual school tradition on Monday.

Once a year, Ohio State students show their mettle by jumping into the frigid waters of a pond called Mirror Lake. This raucous custom, which last year drew 15,000 people, had gone largely undisturbed for two decades. This year, however, university officials decided a major overhaul was needed after one student died following an unrelated, isolated drowning incident in August.

The university's newspaper, The Lantern, details the extent to which administrators went to deprive the event of any spontaneity or danger and make it more like Soviet breadline than a night of collegiate camaraderie:

OSU officials had announced there would be increased safety and security efforts for the Mirror Lake jump... Fences were installed surrounding Mirror Lake with one designated entrance spot and multiple exits. Students, whether jumping or watching, were set to be required to wear a wristband issued to those with [student identification] only for admission to the area.

University police also used their squad cars to act as additional barricades around the perimeter.

School officials overestimated the students' complacency. Campus Police Chief Paul Denton told the school paper over the weekend that he didn't anticipate students resisting the planned protocol, but said the police were prepared to handle it if they did. Vice President for Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston said, “I know that change is difficult and people have the right to have views about that change, but I also know that our student population is one that is spirited and not disruptive,”

The Columbus Dispatch states that despite the presence of several dozen officers guarding the area, the collegians knocked down the six-foot fences and jumped in defiance of the restrictions. Reports vary on how many students participated in the protest last night, but the newspaper ballparks it in the thousands. Once the students began flooding in, the police declined to stop them.

One student told the Dispatch that defying the administrators was her “way of protesting the university telling me when, where and how I should jump.”

“We wanted a night that is unregulated and something the students can own and can continue a really fun and really great tradition,” another student told the school paper.

Ironically, the attempt to micromanage the situation could have backfired for the school, the Dispatch notes:

And there’s an odd angle to Ohio State trying to control the jump, said at least one lawyer. The university could be increasing its liability if a student were to get hurt once wristbands are required, said Gerry Leeseberg, a Columbus lawyer who specializes in wrongful-death and personal-injury cases. “The more control they exert, the further the risk they take,” he said.

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  • UnCivilServant||

    What, they didn't overturn the cars and throw the campus police in the water too?

  • Brett L||

    Civil disobedience, not civil disorder.

  • UnCivilServant||

    I've given up on mere disobedience working anymore.

  • Swiss Servator, referendiffic!||

    Meh. If the cops had tried to stop them....maybe.

  • some guy||

    What, they didn't overturn the cars and throw the campus police in the water too?

    That's reserved for the night of important sporting events.

  • SweatingGin||

    That's this weekend.

  • Brett L||

    Ah, shit. Sloopy is never gonna let go of this one.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Sloopy does have a habit of gripping onto things and not letting go.

  • ||

    I guess that guy wasn't able to turn public muff diving into an OSU tradition.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Damn, the young might be growing a set!

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    I like to think so, but the cynical asshole part of my brain keeps telling me "They're just stupid kids who want to jump in a pond. This isn't some principled stand against authority"

  • BigT||

    If presented properly this could be an object lesson for many of these kids for the downside of state power. Most have never felt the heavy hand of the state and so don't believe it is a problem.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Maybe not a principled stand, but it's still shows a lack of deference to authority.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Aye, the hopeful part of me (the little that's still left) is trying to win over my brain with that fact. I'm trying to be impressed with the fact that they didn't just roll over to authority and say "well it IS in our best interests"

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...the young might be growing a set!

    Which might drop back down about a week after getting out of that water.

  • Swiss Servator, referendiffic!||

    Zing!

  • JW||

    Don't worry, they'll be back to felating overarching state power in the name of FREE SHIT, tomorrow.

  • Acosmist||

    It's a state university, so their very presence constitutes non-stop fellation.

  • Mr. Soul||

    Love it!

    No, You STFU that's why!

    -Joe

  • Auric Demonocles||

    At UVM there is a tradition of a naked bike ride on the last night of classes of the fall semester. While I was there the administration started cracking down on it, putting up more and more security and fences. From what I can tell it actually just got more destructive and rowdy once the university started trying to impose it's safety regulations.

    Note: I never participated. I feel no need to be naked in 20 degree weather for half an hour.

  • some guy||

    And biking just adds to the wind chill. That sounds miserable.

  • Lord Humungus||

    Shrinkage!

  • some guy||

    One student told the Dispatch that defying the administrators was her “way of protesting the university telling me when, where and how I should jump.”

    I wonder how far that love of freedom and hate of regulation goes. Does she mind the university telling her when, where and how to spend her money? What about the government telling her? I'm sure "that's, like, totally different."

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    See my comment above about being a cynical asshole.

    I really do desperately want to see this as a sign that people are getting fed up with the tightening grip on their lives, but I know too many college kids to fully believe that.

  • ||

    This is a good start. Can we send them a care package of Citroëns for them to flip? That would make it better. Also, every student insurrection should involve raining paving stones from second or third floor windows.

  • Almanian!||

    what do you have against Citroens? Those are cool cars!

    FROGGIST!

  • Brett L||

    Shit-trons?

  • ||

    Whatever. You aren't REALLY rioting unless Citroëns have been flipped. Flip just one Citroën and you have my undivided attention.

  • Warty||

    You just wanted an excuse to use an umlaut, didn't you? You don't fool me.

  • Rhywun||

    For shame... that is a diaeresis, not an umlaut.

  • Warty||

    Duck, I says.

  • Mainer2||

    That comment is unforgiven. I'll be sending you a little bill for making it.

  • ||

    My diacritic use is none of your damn business!

    *returns to gently fapping over those lovely floating dots*

  • Swiss Servator, referendiffic!||

    *begins vigorous applause*

    Bravo!

  • ||

    Mirror Lake is barely a pond. It's more like a large puddle. By the time "thousands of people" jump in and then walk off soaking wet, there wouldn't be any water left to jump into.

  • UnCivilServant||

    By the time "thousands of people" jump in and then walk off soaking wet, there wouldn't be any water left to jump into

    "Endangering the wetlands!"

    /enviroprog

  • Brian D||

    How many students were shot for the temerity of ignoring the dictates of their bettors? The article doesn't say.

  • ||

    For a moment, after reading the headline, my heart leapt.

    I was imagining the sweetest irony that would result from the generation that suffered the Kent State shooting and then wore it like a badge of honor for their protest of tyrannical authority.....

    Oh well.

  • JW||

    One student told the Dispatch that defying the administrators was her “way of protesting the university telling me when, where and how I should jump.”

    Britta is the worst.

  • albo||

    The administrators are the AT&T of people.

  • Marc F Cheney||

    One student told the Dispatch that defying the administrators was her “way of protesting the university telling me when, where and how I should jump.”

    That's definitely an improvement on "how high?"

  • Brett L||

    And yet when certain people tell her when, where and how to support the "right" causes, will she protest them?

  • Warty||

    “I know that change is difficult and people have the right to have views about that change, but I also know that our student population is one that is spirited and not disruptive,”

    Has he even been to Columbus? I once got tear-gassed there, and there is no place on the planet where you're more likely to have drunk morons start a fight with you. Disruptive is the point of Ohio State.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Does tear gas even have an effect on you? I thought you used it for cologne.

    Seriously, though. It's OSU. Has this guy never been to a Buckeyes game? The pre-party? The after party? Any time within 24 hours of a game? You have to actively avoid drunken idiots. It's like a horrific game of frogger dodging punches, beer cans, golf carts, public nudity...

  • Warty||

    Or end of semester parties, or beginning of semester parties, or spring break parties, or any weekend parties, or weekday parties...

  • Kid Xenocles||

    For this travesty OSU should be barred from all postseason play and made to... uh... wear Michigan gear for a month.

    [ducks]

  • The Last American Hero||

    The more they tighten their grip, the more students will slip through their fingers.

  • Swiss Servator, referendiffic!||

    Damn you! You got in first with this one!

  • albo||

    Every state has a recreational use of land law. You're not liable if you allow someone to use your property for a recreational activity as long as you don't charge a fee.

    This should cover the university's liablity. They just wanted to exert control.

  • Mainer2||

    ...after one student died following an unrelated, isolated drowning incident

    This sort of reminds me of the Garrish Island circumnavigation. It's an island near the mouth of the river at Portsmouth NH. And there was a tradition of small boats going round the island all on the same day each summer. Of course it's been cancelled as the organizers (such as they were) were told they would have responsibility if anyone was hurt or drowned.

    Here's the thing: the ocean is dangerous. Every season the sea takes a few lives. Now if you want to go round Garrish island in your dory or your kayak, the SAFEST time to do it is when dozens of other people are doing it, too. Now that event is no more, but the ocean still takes a few lives each season.

  • derpules||

    "We wanted a night that is unregulated"

    Just one?

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