Play it safe while partying at KSU

The University of Wisconsin was just named the biggest party school in the nation.

One of the fiercest MAC battles occurs not on any field or in any arena, but between Ohio University and Kent State every Halloween. Each university unofficially competes for the best Halloween celebration (and the most downtown arrests).

Police in riot gear will litter the streets during the May Day celebrations at the end of this year, as anxiety about finals mixes with political unrest to create cautious conditions at best.

College is not about partying, but during certain times of the year, you won’t be able to convince anyone of that. However, there are negative consequences to consider before you take that 15th Jell-O shot. Most of the consequences do not relate only to your education.

Here’s a scenario: Jessie, a Kent freshman, is excited about the freedom that college offers her. On her first night in town, she meets three nice guys through Movers and Groovers. The guys invite her and her roommate to a party at their apartment. Jessie gets excited, dresses nicely, puts on maybe a touch too much make-up and perfume and heads off for the party.

She gets there with her roommate and the awkwardness is palpable. She doesn’t know these guys, even though they seem nice, and doesn’t have much to say to them. As a means of filling the void in conversation, they all play drinking games.

Finding herself fairly intoxicated, she passes out. When she awakes the next morning, she’s naked next to a naked man. The evening is fuzzy and he tells her that she consented to sex the previous night when she questions him about it. She doesn’t remember consenting, but she also doesn’t remember anything else. She quickly dresses. She doesn’t know that by most definitions of the law, she’s a victim of a sex crime.

For the rest of Jessie’s time at school, the experience has a sort of haunting presence. She knows that college is supposed to be the time of her life, but that initial experience has tainted it for her.

Jessie doesn’t know who she can talk to. Her shame only increases each time she calls home or sees her grandma. Her family members ask, “So, aren’t you enjoying college?” Jessie is smart enough to know that “yes” is the only right answer, but she doesn’t feel it.

Everything written here is just fictional, but with what studies tell us about sexual assault on college campuses, it might be more of a generalized account than a fictional one.

The point: Physical pleasure and the desire to express one’s freedom are strong within anyone. It’s natural. However, what is natural doesn’t always lead to positive consequences. It is better to show some self-restraint and avoid particularly dangerous situations than think that this is college and you need to party.

Freshmen particularly, remember, you have at least four years here to create some of the best memories of your life. Make sure, though, when you receive your diploma in 2009 or 2010, you aren’t still carrying a bucket of shame with you.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.