In the words of Johnny Cash, “Love is a burning thing that makes a fiery ring.” Cash never said anything about Dumpsters.

Ohio State students riot when we play Michigan, regardless of whether we win or lose. We riot in the spring, usually on the first warm Saturday night of the quarter. For good measure, Dumpsters are usually torched.

It never has made much sense to me, but recent events cloud the issue even further.

As I was pouring over my books in the wee hours of yesterday, I nearly jumped out of my skin as fire trucks flew down High Street with their sirens screaming. I thought something terrible must have happened. I was wrong.

At least 10 Dumpster fires were set off campus between Monday afternoon and the early morning hours yesterday, and I cannot begin to imagine why. Sure, Monday was a warm day, but anyone should know Dumpster fires are not fashionable in February.

I cannot begin to fathom the preoccupation people have with setting fire to a Dumpster. Perhaps these “fireflies” enjoy watching flames jumping from the Dumpsters, but pyromania was out in seventh grade, in my opinion. Furthermore, the aroma of garbage burning cannot be pleasant.

I just cannot figure OSU students out.

We like to say we are old enough and mature enough to attend college courses, and we pride ourselves on our growing independence. We want Gov. Bob Taft to take us seriously when we say we are fed up with the meager amount of funding higher education receives in Ohio, and we plead for university officials and the state’s citizens to support us, to take us seriously.

Yet we set garbage on fire. It is really quite asinine on our part.

I certainly don’t think either the Columbus Division of Fire or the Columbus Division of Police take us very seriously. We compromise our relationship with police and firefighters with each passing riot and Dumpster fire. Sgt. Earl Smith, spokesman for the Columbus Division of Police, once referred to it as “babysitting.”

The riots we seem to host at least once a year damage our own property and neighborhoods, and the fires we set to Dumpsters waste tax dollars which – for some students – are coming out of our paychecks. We put administrators in a difficult position, as they have to explain why OSU students are out of control to Mayor Michael Coleman and the rest of Columbus.

Beyond the embarrassment this brings to the university, there is something even more disappointing displayed in students who participate in these activities: The totally selfish disregard students have toward people who have real emergencies.

Dispatching fire trucks and police hampers them in responding to “real” crises. Shame on us.

I realize not every OSU student sets Dumpsters aflame or chucks bottles at police during a riot. Many students steer clear of such activities, and I applaud them for it.

However, I think it is time for the few students who do seem to enjoy their raucous behavior to cease. Welcome to college. If you want people to treat you like a “grown-up,” start acting like one.

Monica Torline is a senior in journalism and the news editor at The Lantern. She would like to wish a happy birthday to Johnny Cash, “the man in black,” who turned 70 yesterday. She can be reached for comment at