Letter to the editor:
Yesterday, I wrote The Lantern to explain why the new “safety measures” promulgated by the Office of Student Life will actually make the Mirror Lake jump more dangerous than it has previously been. I’ve calmed down, given the policies more thought, and I now realize that my criticism did not go far enough.
There are tens of thousands of adjectives in the English language, yet not one of them adequately describes the degree of ignorance our administrators possess with regard to the Mirror Lake jump. One only needs to take a closer look at Javaune Adams-Gaston’s recent statements to bring this observation to light.
In her weekly Student Life letter, she wrote, “If you do choose to jump … I suggest you do not drink.” She might as well stand on her roof tonight before bed, shake her fist toward the sky and yell, “sun, you better not rise tomorrow!”
She told The Lantern that “we have student leaders and we consult with them and they give us their input and we appreciate it.” But there is a difference between “appreciating” feedback and “listening.” The Undergraduate Student Government released a statement saying the new policies are “misguided.” I also cannot find one positive statement about the regulations on Twitter or Facebook, either. Again, who exactly was she listening to?
Most notably, she said, “the wellbeing of Ohio State students is our top priority and we will take efforts to … (maintain) appropriate levels of safety and security.” If this was her – and other administrators’ – true motivation, the university would have taken reasonable and sensible safety measures Tuesday night.
Thoroughly salt the sidewalks and concrete surrounding the lake. Clean the lake before students jump. Increase lighting. Provide trained lifeguards. Place more first-respondent units at Neil Avenue, and keep those paths clear so they can have immediate access. Hell, maybe heat the lake for a night.
Is OSU implementing these solutions already? I don’t know. But as I noted yesterday, the new policies will actually increase the dangers associated with the jump.
And because I wrote about that yesterday, let me get to the real issue. These policies are not at all designed to increase safety. They are designed to discourage students from jumping and make the entire experience an inconvenience.
Think about it. Wristbands will not increase safety for jumpers unless they can inflate and prevent students from drowning. Instead, the obvious purpose of requiring a wristband is to waste a lot of people’s time and deter students from going.
Furthermore, having Student Life officers (instead of police) restrict access at the single entrance point will likely be as effective as sending a pack of Corgis to protect the Mexican border. As everybody knows, it will just cause a long line and expose students to the freezing cold for a longer period of time than usual. Again, a huge inconvenience that will deter some students from jumping.
I could go on, but it’s unnecessary. OSU constantly boasts how we are (statistically speaking) the smartest student body in the history of this great university. Most students reading this are fully capable of seeing behind the veil of all the “student safety” rhetoric and realize what the university is trying to do with these new policies.
OSU and Adams-Gaston would therefore be wise to actually listen to us. I might be graduating, but I hope this administration does not make this mistake again next year.
2010 alumnus with a degree in political science and strategic communication
Third-year law student at the Moritz College of Law