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Ohio State USG votes in support of ending Mirror Lake jump

Members of USG during the group's meeting and vote on whether or not to end the Mirror Lake Jump on Dec. 2. Credit: Hannah Roth | Lantern Photographer

Members of USG during the group’s meeting vote on whether to end the Mirror Lake Jump on Dec. 2. Credit: Hannah Roth | Lantern Photographer

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.

Andrew Jackson of USG speaks during the organization’s meeting on Dec. 2. Credit: Jackie Hobson | Lantern Photographer

Andrew Jackson of USG speaks during the organization’s meeting on Dec. 2. Credit: Jackie Hobson | Lantern Photographer

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.”


  1. Unfortunately this is par for the course for Abby G. Stalin and Abby W. Mussolini. They will tell you what speakers are allowed on campus, what satirical banners you can hang from your own off-campus house, and whether you have permission to jump into a two-foot lake. You will march in line, and Abby Road will tolerate nothing less.

    Even more appalling is to see that a College Republican “leader” was involved in this. I thought these were the people who were supposed to let us take personal responsibility for our own decisions. Digging around, I see that this person is on USG’s Cabinet – no wonder the College Republicans are entirely clueless when it comes to dealing with USG’s bullying of both their own club and other students in general. Their leaders are either part of the problem or too incompetent to challenge it.

  2. This is a rash, knee-jerk decision. It doesn’t protect students from their own errors in judgement, which is what ultimately caused this tragic accident.

    The Mirror Lake jump is no more dangerous than a crowded concert and I highly doubt the university would cancel, for example, the Welcome Week concert because one student decided to stage-dive and died as a result.

  3. Who really cares what USG thinks or votes? USG has never really represented anyone on campus other than themselves. The vast majority of students don’t give a flip about USG and never have. Bottom line is that USG is just a few students who will only be on campus a short time. The Mirror Lake Jump has a much longer tradition and more interest by the average student than anything USG ever has done or ever will do. Yes, it is sad that someone died. Life has risks for everyone every day. The best we can do is make informed decisions about the risks we choose to undertake every day. Would not be much of a life without any risk. If you want to improve the Mirror Lake Jump, take it back to the old informal way it always was. Take down the fences, throw away the wristbands, and just have some fun!

    • Well put, Tom. This past week, a Clemson student fell or jumped from the upper deck of the Clemson football stadium and was killed. I haven’t noticed any ‘student government’ association lobbying for the closing of Clemson stadium. Come on, USG, use your heads. You are at this great University to get smarter.

  4. I didn’t know 25 years was a short time for a tradition? Does the USG President actually understand anything? Should we ban football games because those are students who can suffer life changing injuries, what about basketball? Falling on a hard wood floor can be dangerous. I know that might be a slippery slope judgment but that’s similar to the logic they are using here. Its just as unsafe to cross High St. at night after being at a bar but we aren’t banning all bars on campus or removing High St. I just don’t understand. Yes the loss is sad and its horrible for this persons family but accidents do happen whether we want them to or not.

    • The USG President (and her even dumber VP) don’t understand this. If they would ever slow down and make a decision by gathering facts rather than acting purely on hormones they would see things more clearly, assuming they aren’t doing this just to grandstand for cameras.

      There is a difference between an EVENT and a poor decision someone makes at an event.
      – Crossing High Street to a restaurant is not terribly unsafe. Drinking 9 shots and staggering into the street is.
      – Driving is not terribly unsafe. Shooting up with heroin then driving 100 MPH is.
      – An event that involves jumping into 2 feet of water is not terribly unsafe. Being a moron and diving into it is.

      These fools on student government don’t understand this concept. Something bad happened, Abby’s hormones tell her to ban the event it happened at, and the followers blindly go along. It’s easier to do that than to address the real issue of how to help students avoid terrible decisions.

      • Exactly my point. Cold water is not dangerous if you are smart about it. Making a pizza in an oven with extreme heat is not dangerous if you are smart but if you are the person who decides to grab the pizza tray out with your bare hands you are going to get hurt but that doesn’t mean we should say that, ” Oh well cooking pizzas is actually pretty dangerous all along we just ignored it until this person got hurt from it so we should ban it.”

  5. -someone who cares

    Stop using examples of other tragedies to try to justify your opposition to this decision. If you can’t see how obviously dangerous this tradition is, than your empathy and concern for the safety of your fellow students is blinded by misguided school spirit. A tradition comprised of thousands of predominantly drunken students jumping in freezing water is just not worth it when there is a very real danger of injury. There are better, more constructive ways to show your school spirit.

    • When is getting into cold water been dangerous? Take it down to the basics and ask yourself is it really as dangerous as it seems or as people say it is. Going into not even knee deep cold water is not dangerous. People get into ice baths all the time. Its the students decisions that what make it dangerous. Yes the tragedy is awful but the student’s decision is what caused it. Not the cold water, not the others around them. Only them. It seems mean to say but sometimes the truth isn’t the nicest thing. Sorry.

  6. Let’s just be clear on one thing here.
    USG can pass whatever resolution they want, but it is not up to them to maintain the integrity and safety of this campus, its the administration’s duty.

    Student Life, Public Safety, Operations, Student Government leadership, and many other administrators meet multiple times a year to discuss how to shut the Mirror Lake jump down, but there has never been the will power to do so, even though its an extremely expensive waste of resources and the very real possibility of someone dying has been discussed in those meetings.

    Student Life should have been the office that made this decision years ago, but obviously did not want to face the negative student backlash.
    The fact that they are now quietly sitting back and letting the undergraduate student leadership take the heat for them is reprehensible and shows the lack of leadership in place.

    The shared governance model exists to serve as a means to change policy on campus, but not as a method to deflect responsibility and decision making for campus and student safety onto the backs of unpaid, inexperienced undergraduate student leaders.
    University administrators are responsible for tacitly condoning this event, despite fully understanding the dangers, primarily because no one was willing to risk the backlash for the student body.
    A student has now lost his life while others continued to party just feet away.
    Its time to put a stop to it, and its also time for Student Life to stop using USG to do their job for them.

  7. This shouldn’t have been USG’s vote to make. Student Life (ESPECIALLY Dr. J) and Campus Police/Safety should have stopped this years ago. And not because of safety. Rather, because OSU shouldn’t have to deal with in loco parentis BS supervising a bunch of legal adults. (1) students should have the right, as adults, to playfully endanger themselves / whatever; (2) the University shouldn’t pay a dime investing in safety controls for something unnecessary. Go jump in a river. Jump off a non-OSU building. Do bong hits biking backwards off a cliff. Anything, just don’t do it on OSU property where thousands of dollars get blown so a few (compared to the OSU population in total) can have a momentary feeling of solidarity by jumping in a duck poop (and jock pee) -filled pond.

  8. You are all talking like you have a say in the matter. This time next year Mirror Lake will be Mirror Lake concrete pavilion with a commemorative fountain/splash pad.

  9. This whole situation is a clear case of assumption of risk

  10. No one jumped in the lake when I was in school there! An easy “fix” is to drain Mirror Lake for cleaning when the jump would take place!

  11. Who cares what the student government thinks? People are free to do what they want and take their own risks. When I was hiking the AT I learned of a guy who drowned just jumping in a pond due to low potassium. Shit happens. I thank the Lantern for keeping me informed me of the abject stupidity of OSU’s administration and friends. The day it isn’t a sad joke maybe I’ll donate to the university…

  12. For someone who’s been at this university for four years. I’ve realized that what USG does doesn’t really matter. Ultimately it’s the administration aka drake who makes the decisions. So in regards to the jump I frankly don’t care what they say. Some of my best memories is jumping with friends and if my incoming freshman brother wanted to jump Id say go do it. USG in the end is just like a parent figure. Instead of letting us be adults they think they always know what’s best

    In the end when thousands jump every year and there has only been one (very tragic) death in 25 years. I have better odds of getting robbed off campus or some drunk driver hitting me

  13. I am curious to know how many of these pro-jump comments are coming from alumni who may have fond memories of a more innocent time, and not individuals who actually witness what this “tradition” has devolved into. I witnessed myself the debauchery firsthand. The level of inebriation was off the charts, as it has been for some time. The amount of young men chanting for young ladies to expose themselves was disturbing. Then there were the phones everywhere taking pictures of every young lady that made the unfortunate decision to not dress appropriately, and these pictures being shared on social media sites…and the almost constant “F**K Michigan” cries being screamed by drunken onlookers. Anything that was fun, pure, or wholesome about this “tradition” has long since been replaced by an environment that goes against everything being a Buckeye stands for, not to mention the student code of conduct.

    The financial cost to have police presence being paid overtime to monitor this event as well as the cost of setting up fences, hiring additional security, and the damage done to the area and the time spent cleaning up and dismantling fences, etc. post-event is a drain on financial resources that should not be paid for by student fees, OSU, or taxpayers.

    Today’s students should focus on creating new traditions that are helpful to a cause. The Greek community should get involved with covering the cost of new traditions that can be overseen by their governing bodies. The students should be creative, supportive of each other, and trusted to monitor new traditions on their own. If they show they are unworthy of that trust by allowing alcohol, profanity, excessive littering, and general inappropriate behavior then the Student Life should step in put a stop to these new traditions until the student body can figure out how to act accordingly in a safe and respectful manner befitting the ideals of being a Buckeye.

    • Engineering student

      As far as language I think it’s far worse at home games when the students shout “rip his f***ing head off”. So don’t go with the whole language thing. There are little kids at those games so if language is against the buckeye tradition then 60% of the students don’t have it

      . As for the woman dressing inappropriately that is THERE decision. They are adults just like YOU and ME. During the halloween time of year I see a lot more scantily clad woman around campus !me personally I went with two guys and three girls and we all thought it was fun and it was my third jump.

      And as for finances it’s not as if OSU is lacking for money. We are one of the largest colleges in the country and when our president gets a 400k raise I think we can afford to have pay police to monitor the situation. So no. The only bad thing about this is we tragically lost a life. The first in 25 years longer than most of us have been alive

      • From excellence to ignorance

        “The only bad thing about this is we tragically lost a life.”


        Are you even a real person or have you just morphed into a can of Natty Light on Ugg boots in your time here on campus?
        The tragedy is that we have undergrads with your utter lack of intellect that are leaving here with a degree in hand.

      • The fact that you used the word “there” in your sentance pretty much nullifies any viewpoint you can bring to the table.

      • Perhaps you should spend less time jumping into a lake and more time going to class…

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