As we approached St. Patrick’s Day 2013 at the University of Dayton, a great number of us were anxious. Be you a student, parent or faculty member; whether you predicted some kind of epic party or an absolute catastrophe; no one could have ever known exactly what to expect on such a weekend celebration as this.
Which is why, in the wake of this most eventful (or uneventful, depending on your perspective) St. Patrick’s Day, there were a lot of things that came to my mind that I hope others paid attention to as well.
First of all, and most importantly, we were reminded that Dr. Daniel Curran is, put simply and politely, an awesome man. I have never been as proud of our university’s president as I woke up to tweets about his activity on Sunday morning, mere hours after I witnessed him happily chatting with students after Mass at Holy Angels Church on Saturday night.
The fact that he was on Kiefaber in the moment of the incident trying to mediate firsthand between students and police officers suggests that he cares about us in a passionate, personal way. He is clearly not the kind of bigwig president who would rather rule from behind a desk than interact with students. He even placed concern for the students above concern for his own safety, which I personally thought was a strong sign of his character. Dr. Dan himself may have said it best when, according to an FN staff member on the scene, he replied to police, saying: “I’m just doing my job!”
It’s also worth mentioning that members of UD administration, including Provost Joe Saliba and Bill Fischer, vice president of Student Development, deserve our recognition; they, too, acted honorably in making their rounds in the Ghetto on Sunday and caring enough to address students in person.
Secondly, we witnessed a sad reality: when people play into stereotypes of our student population, it can completely ruin some of the better and more favored student traditions here. Think about it. The actions of a minority group of high-strung students coupled with an intense, dominant presence of over-provoked police officers ended up – directly or indirectly – ruining the day for the rest of the student population. That people even call Sunday’s incident a “riot” is enough to exemplify this tendency to over-hype and mischaracterize UD students’ behavior.
Maybe you could argue that if it weren’t for the resulting police intervention throughout the day, the majority of students celebrating in the Ghetto would have eventually caused a similar disturbance anyway.
But then again, no you can’t. I really don’t think students here are that stupid. For the most part, the unwritten and unofficial understanding between UD students and UD police is pretty well-respected. They don’t go out of their way to make students’ social habits painfully challenging so long as we don’t allow ourselves to lose control. Because of this, I really don’t think anyone should criticize the student body for the events that occurred last weekend, at least not as a whole. If the early morning events on Kiefaber never happened, and the resulting high degree of police supervision therefore wasn’t warranted, I seriously doubt it would have ever been needed at all.
Another important thought for students, based on the number of non-UD students who were involved this weekend, is this: if you have friends visiting UD for social reasons, be responsible enough to communicate behavior expectations to them, or don’t have them at all. It’s not that hard, especially considering you are the one held responsible for their actions. A lot of non-students were involved in the incident on Sunday and seven non-UD students were even arrested. While their numbers may have been somewhat insignificant and they were not acting alone, it’s too bad they were allowed to contribute to ruining St. Patty’s Day for a lot of otherwise innocent UD students.
Overall, it sucks that events on Sunday happened the way they did. It also is upsetting to think that future UD St. Patrick’s Day celebrations may suffer the consequences. Some traditions never die at UD, but I sincerely hope, in the aftermath of Sunday when our traditions were threatened, students are seeing a red flag.