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Fences, wristbands to restrict Ohio State Mirror Lake jumpers

OSU students jump into Mirror Lake in 2011 as part of a Beat Michigan week tradition. This year’s jump is scheduled to take place Nov. 26. Credit: Lantern file photo

OSU students jump into Mirror Lake in 2011 as part of a Beat Michigan week tradition. This year’s jump is scheduled to take place Nov. 26.
Credit: Lantern file photo

Ohio State students will likely suit up for the Mirror Lake jump as they do every year: a variety of swim trunks, T-shirts, duct-taped flip flops and body paint.

But this year all students attending in any capacity will have to sport the same accessory – a red wristband. And instead of running to the lake from any and all directions, students will have to file in through one opening in a wall of chain-link fences.

OSU officials announced Sunday there would be increased safety and security efforts for the Mirror Lake jump Tuesday night. That enforcement will play out in the form of chain-link fences around the Mirror Lake area and a requirement for students to wear a wristband for admission to the event.

Jumping in Mirror Lake before the OSU football game against the University of Michigan is a university tradition. Tuesday’s weather forecast for the jump predicts a high of 36 degrees and a low of 24, with a 30 percent chance of snow, according to the Weather Channel.

The event has never been sanctioned by the university, something OSU Student Life Vice President Javaune Adams-Gaston said isn’t going to change.

“It’s not a university-sanctioned event,” she told The Lantern in a Sunday interview. “We really aren’t focused on the sanctioning versus the not sanctioning, it’s really about how can we help our students be safe as possible.”

Adams-Gaston’s weekly message from Student Life Sunday detailed the measures OSU will be taking to implement the changes, including limiting the area to one entrance point with multiple exits and requiring students who are participating or just watching to wear wristbands.

The wristbands are being given out at the Ohio Union through Tuesday at midnight, and students must present a BuckID to receive one. There are as many wristbands as there are students, Adams-Gaston said.

There are 57,466 people enrolled at the OSU-Columbus campus for Fall Semester 2013, according to the OSU Statistical Summary.

The wristbands can also give students access to free food at the Beat Michigan festival Tuesday on the South Oval, which is set to have activities including a zip line, pumpkin smashing and an interactive graffiti mural. Adams-Gaston’s message said while free food will be available to the first 4,000 attendees, students will need wristbands to get the food.

She said students were consulted during the process of deciding how to handle this year’s jump.

“We have students generally and we have student leaders and we consult with them and they give us their input and we appreciate it,” she said, adding that she is unconcerned about negative student reactions. “I have great faith in our students, 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.”

OSU Undergraduate Student Government President Taylor Stepp said Sunday he does not support the new plan.

“Personally, I think that as a result of the precautions they’re taking, this could in fact create a more unsafe environment for the night,” said Stepp, a fourth-year in public affairs. “(The event is) chaos. People are jumping into a freezing cold lake for goodness sake, but there have not been widespread injuries … We have the potential for more heinous injuries and more widespread injuries.”

He said as of Sunday afternoon, the feedback had largely been negative.

“I haven’t seen a single positive comment about the changes,” said Stepp, who has jumped in Mirror Lake and plans to do so again this year. “I can tell you that this (change) is not something (USG members) support, we made that very clear to the administration.”

University Police Chief Paul Denton said the wristbands are intended to provide an extra safety measure.

“The wristband is a method to make sure that our students, who are our priority, have access to this event, a safety method so to speak,” Denton told The Lantern Sunday. “This is a student-centered event.”

Adams-Gaston said it will largely be Student Life employees checking wristbands for admittance.

The death of a former OSU student earlier this semester had prompted 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.

Kabre “received a master’s of science in chemistry degree in Autumn 2011” but he was not currently enrolled at the university, an OSU spokeswoman confirmed.

Some OSU alumni said the death might have prompted the restrictions.

“I’m sure that’s the motivation behind it, but I just think that takes a lot away from the experience,” said Dave Gaglione, who graduated in 1998 with a bachelor’s in education and majored in sports and leisure studies. “I only jumped in once but all the five years I was a student at Ohio State, I went down there and kind of watched it … It was just fun to be with a bunch of other people who cared about Ohio State football as much as I did and cared about the university as much as I did and hated that team up north as much as I did.”

He said while the regulations might not make the jump more dangerous, he does think they open up a window for new problems.

“There’s more chance of things going wrong with the (fences). I can see people standing in line trying to push their way through … If it’s not a police officer, then regulating that entrance is going to be a risk,” Gaglione said, adding that people could try to climb the fences. “They’re creating problems where there weren’t ones before.”

There is typically an increased police presence in the area and lights are set up to illuminate the lake. 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, 2012 jump.

Some students said they aren’t taking the measures seriously.

“I definitely see why they are trying to do it — prevent all sorts of risky behavior, it’s just going to be a little bit hilarious seeing how they’re going to implement it,” said Chandni Pawar, a fourth-year in chemistry. “They should be investing a lot more in safety but I don’t know how well this wristband and more organized action is going to work trying to regulate something that is meant to be so chaotic.”

Others said they think the fences and wristbands will magnify students’ emotions in a negative way.

“I don’t think it’s going to go over well for the university, it’s going to cause more anger,” said Jenny Westendorf, a second-year in speech and hearing science. “A selected few are going to get a little out of hand and climb the fences and tear them down.”

Some OSU athletes spoke about the event Sunday as well and said they’re waiting to see what happens with the new regulations.

“I don’t know the details of it, I’ve just heard that it will be kind of fenced off. There will only be one entrance and that you’ll need a wristband,” said Sam Thompson, a junior forward on the OSU men’s basketball team, at a media availability. “I’m kind of curious just to see how it will all work out because in my experience, I’ve always remembered people coming from all directions and stuff like that. I don’t know, I trust the university officials to get it done.”

Aaron Craft, a senior guard on the team, was unconcerned with the new measures.

“It’s going to be interesting. I think, like Sam was saying, it gets pretty crazy that night anyways,” Craft said Sunday. “Maybe it makes it worse, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it makes it better. I’m sure we have a lot of students out there trying to find a way around it right now so it’ll be fun to see what happens but you gotta roll with it and we’ll see what happens.”


Eric Seger and Daniel Rogers contributed to this article.


  1. “Unsanctioned” event with wristbands, fences, and cops. Hmmmm.

  2. Clearly the students involved haven’t heard about the crazy high instances of rape that happens that night. I’d wager the fences and regulation are less about the actual jump and more about the rapes that occur in the surrounding areas following the jump. And the property damage that takes weeks and thousands of dollars to clean up. It’ll be hard to get that hill all muddy and stripped of vegetation if there’s a fence blocking it off!

  3. @Anonymous 8:24 am

    Did you look at the map? That hill, the majority of the south oval, Pomerene Hall, etc are all inside of the fence. If anything it will create more opportunity for crimes of that nature. Edges of the fence not near exits will become very low / no traffic areas and with little to no foot traffic, that becomes a more opportune spot for crime.

  4. As long as they are being ridiculous, why don’t they mandate helmets, knee and arm pads, and full wetsuits to any jumpers. They could also mandate life vests, to make sure no one drowns. Don’t forget to give tear gas and tasers to the police, in case the students get out of hand…

  5. WOW! We already have a generation of young adults that can’t do anything for themselves. Helicopter parents circle the OSU campus and after graduation the majority of students are picked up and taken back to the nest for another 5-7 years. Now, the university is joining in the placenta party and let’s face it, managing (sanctioning) something like this. Next thing you know, ChittFest or NorwichFest will be sponsored by Student Affairs and wristbands will be required to get beer. I feel bad for the children that attend OSU. While the Mirror Lake Jump is juvenile, dangerous, and stupid. Participating in it is a tradition that everyone should have access to without someone hovering over their heads. I hope everyone involved realizes that this means they will be ticketing for open containers, removing people for public intoxication, regulating your outfits and/or props you may intend to bring, and monitoring your behavior like you are a twelve-year-old at the community pool. “No running! No horseplay!” This just signifies the death of another thing that made OSU a fun and exciting place to be. On the upside, a least you won’t see any disgusting people peeing down the hill. One year I saw so many girls doing it in the open that I thought I would vomit… Stay classy Buckeyes!

  6. Yes , I agree. This is about rape prevention. And the millions of dollars lost because of mud tracked all around the sidewalks. Please students, don’t rape or murder at Mirror Lake and if you do, please wear a wristband.

  7. I hate to admit this, especially as a non-traditional (much older than my peers) student. But I agree with the posters above. This event is a tradition, albeit a crazy one, and the sprint to the lake is as much a part of it as the jump itself. While I hope that everyone has fun and stays safe, I just don’t see how these fences and wristbands are going to help. Every year Dr. J sends an email clearly stating that the jump is NOT sanctioned by the University, and that students jump at their own risk. Leave it at that. Leave the wristbands and the restricted entry to the bouncers at Midway.

  8. I appreciate the concern as a result of the death of the former OSU student. The lake itself is not dangerous. It’s unknown as to what the former OSU student was doing in the first place prior to his near drowning. I think all this wristband policy stuff is ridiculous. Students should jump at their own risk like before. If they are going to impose sanctions then they should include more than wristbands and fences….

  9. Funny how this great tradition takes a hit after Gee is out of office. The students definitely took having a president who put them first for granted.

  10. Just another act of a fascist organization. A previously organic process now requires you to stand in two lines. One while getting your wristband (in a few years it’ll be a numbered tattoo) and the other while they herd you into a fenced in area. Don’t be surprised in they wand you with portable metal detectors and frisk you to make sure you’re not carrying any contraband.

  11. As a former OSU student there are a couple questions I would have.
    1. What are the specific problems/issues that have occurred in the past that warrant these changes? Detail these.
    2. If there are problems, how are these changes going to help?

    For those concerned with the money needed to repair the grass/area I’m sure if you held a vote the students would overwhelmingly vote to add $.50 or a $1.00 to their tuition to cover the $25,000 to $50,000 cost it takes to repair the damage. This reminds me a lot of the “crackdown” on off campus parties in the early 2000’s that only made the situations worse.

  12. I’m so glad this wasn’t regulated when I was a student.

  13. And don’t even think about drinking a 32oz. soda or lighting-up a Marlboro or we’ll throw your ass in jail then expel you!

    Have a good time! Signed; M. Bloomburg et al.

  14. @Anonymous 8:24am

    Thank heavens that rapes can only happen around Mirror Lake on jump night and not on the streets where students will be running home to! Concentrating the majority of Columbus and OSU police around Mirror Lake and taking them away from the dark, less populated off campus streets will definitely help the issue.

    And don’t even get me started on how important the vegetation is to student safety!!!

  15. If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth, right? the Democrats' great accomplishment is producing the political equivalent of a Rodney King video, clearly demonstrating the lies of the right, the right Hilary Clinton correctly identified as a vast conspiracy. Confirm by examining Central District of California Cases, 01-4340, 03-9097, 08-5515, 10-5193, US Tax Court 12000-07L –though I think you want to view my US Tax Court Appeal to the 9th Circuit for a good account of their day to day assaults, a few month time slice indicative of a decade of assault, and, when it's completed, 9th Circuit 11-56043.
    Typically operating through puppets–including puppets in the judiciary–the right wing has for decades been committing crimes and trying to classify them to cover them up, a move explicitly forbidden by the Code of Federal Regulations. With either the approval or the willful ignorance of the judiciary the right has e killed & stolen several of my pets and routinely shoot energy weaponry at me and my pets, despite my calls to the police, the FBI, Congress, and despite my petitions in court. They've been placing dead cats in my path at a rate of one every few weeks or one a month, and shot out the eye of another stray a day after I advised a few strangers it had a particularly nice disposition. They ran over another animal last night, bloody and in the road, I suppose their defiant response that they're not going to stop trying to intimidate. There is really only one solution, and that's to disempower them politically. They are beyond sick, and belong in prison.

  16. Can’t wait to stand in a freezing cold line for 30 minutes instead of just doing a quick 5 minute freezing cold jump

  17. Glen, please go kiss yo momma's fat ass and stop replying with this crap that has nothing to do with the article you are replying to. You seem to have a problem and maybe I, The DoughMaster, is the one to put you out of your misery!!

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