Homecoming weekend. A time full of fireworks, parades, football and fun. A time for a college’s past and present to unite to celebrate the campus community. A time worthy of being characterized by the infamous motto, “Go hard or go home.” Unfortunately, however, this past weekend forced many Slippery Rock students to choose the latter of those options.
By land, by car, by horseback, and even by helicopter, the police presence was palpable to all from Mihalik-Thompson Stadium to the greater Slippery Rock area. Students could not turn around without police there to question where they were going and whether or not they seemed under the influence of alcohol or underage. The situation was uncomfortable even for students who were of legal drinking age or weren’t looking for a super wild time partying.
Residents of the Grove were especially perturbed to discover its seemingly unnecessary security presence for Homecoming weekend. Cars were lined up far down Harmony trying to get through the gates. Guards were stationed at the entrance to stop people from entering on foot, requiring that they be accompanied by a card-bearing resident or they were turned away. In addition, each resident was only allowed five visitors apiece. Masses of other visitors were denied admittance and were turned away.
The complex was also surrounded by police officers and security guards, including those on horseback. We’ve heard from several sources stories of the liquor control board carding anyone with a drink in-hand and distributing several underage citations.
This raises the question as to whether or not these extreme measures are, in fact, worth the trouble. There comes a point where it stops being about safety. Is a police officer on horseback really an effective means to protect others, or is it just about intimidation? The whole thing really seems like a conglomeration of scare tactics designed to deter students from making destructive decisions. This is fine, in theory, however, trouble makers will live up to their namesake regardless of precautions taken against them. So does it, in fact, protect anyone? Do the benefits outweigh their annoyance? Where do we draw the line between the police protecting us from harm and infringing upon our college experiences for the purpose of exercising authority?
This is not an “eff the police” rant by any means. For the most part the police and security on and off-campus do a pretty good job of not invading our personal freedoms and yet still maintaining a safe community. This past weekend was obviously an exception and, as a result, Homecoming weekend at times seemed quieter than any other Saturday night. However, with Halloween weekend on the horizon, we are left to wonder if we’ve seen the worst of it.
It also brings up the point of how apartment complexes want to be viewed by students. If a company’s slogan is “Live the stories you want to tell” and their icon is a red Solo cup named Flippy, and yet they are turning away people at the gate on a Saturday night, on the weekend of Homecoming, no less, aren’t these messages conflicting? There is a lacking of consistency here that needs to be addressed.
All in all, while security guards and police officers generally have the best of intentions, their extreme presence during Homecoming and other weekends notorious for large parties is unnecessary. We at The Rocket are hoping to see a more reasonable system in the future so that Slippery Rock students can (safely) enjoy their college experience to the fullest extent.