Opinion: Control your Irish spirit


Megan L. Brown is a junior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Megan Brown

Why are college students so obsessed with riots during festivities?

Kent State has had its fair share of riots and out-of-control drinking festivities like the 2012 College Fest and other assortments, but this past weekend, St. Patty’s Day festivities went to a whole new level at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, also known as IUP.  Even though it’s a little more than an hour from my hometown, the riots caught news coverage nationwide.

People lined the streets in their green attire with beer cans everywhere while jumping on moving cars. I mean, innocent people were trying to drive and the kids attacked their cars. Bystanders took pictures during the outbreaks of fights. One fight started between two males and proceeded to others — punches and kicks were thrown left and right. It was like WWE on a college campus with people blacking out from alcohol and fighting.

So why are people so obsessed with this? Yes, you can drink and have a good time. Yes, some of us have been too drunk at festivities, but is it really worth it? Is getting arrested and suspended from your college worth that one day of getting wasted? I will never understand the people who just sit there and watch. They get their phones out, take videos and pictures, post them to social networks, but they don’t do a thing about it. If you take a look at the footage from the riots, someone could’ve easily died.

I also know by being a 21-year-old that people like to brag about what “party school” they attend. IUP has been labeled one of Pennsylvania’s top party school for years, and Kent State also is a top party school. Yes, there’s been College Fest gone wrong, with the SWAT team, tear gas and police lining the streets on Halloween weekend, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it out of control — learn to control yourself. Have a good time, but be aware of what you’re doing.

Other colleges have had their share of craziness, too. More than 73 students were arrested at the University of Massachusetts Saturday. Police in riot gear arrested students who threw beer cans, bottles and snowballs; there were even minor injuries to four officers. A 2012 St. Patrick’s Day celebration went wrong in Morgantown — home of West Virginia University — when rioting involved dumpster fires and light poles being knocked over. Videos of the events went viral. And then there’s Pennsylvania State University, which has been the site of “State Paddy’s Day” celebrations since 2007, where public drinking and disorderliness is well-known. Bars and restaurants tend to close during these activities because of the public drunkenness.

I know many of us like to party, but let’s learn to tone it down. Remember that your actions and anything you post on Facebook and Twitter can always come back to haunt you, so be careful this weekend and take it easy.