When the sun’s out on the University of Dayton campus, a lot less shiny things come out with it: jerseys, beers, sheet signs and waves of students in the student neighborhood. When annual celebrations like St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness are upon us, it’s even easier to get swept away.
The university acknowledges the pressure of peers en masse, as it scheduled a media event March 14 for UD representatives—UD Police Chief Rodney Chatman, Associate Vice President of Student Development Christine Schramm and SGA President Mike Brill—to “discuss preparations for possible St. Patrick’s Day and other celebrations,” according to the UD Media Relations press release. University organizations also promoted sober alternatives like the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Sister to Sister program and the RecPlex’s free fitness classes. Organizations also provided free food and water at the RecPlex and ArtStreet to encourage students to celebrate smartly. But the university can only do so much to affect student behavior.
On March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, a female student fell from a balcony and suffered not life-threatening, but moderately severe, injuries. A day later, UD Media Relations disseminated an update of the student’s wellbeing on behalf of Vice President for Student Development Bill Fischer, which stated she was still in the hospital.
Yet, the response to the day’s events were that the thousands of students in the neighborhood were “fairly calm,” as a WHIO headline read. The WHIO newscaster continued addressing the police presence on St. Patrick’s Day as a way “to prepare their approach for tomorrow, should the Flyers win their NCAA game.”
The students and university aren’t the only ones complicit in a culture that produces a reputation for riots and hospitalizations. A “fairly calm” St. Patrick’s Day at UD made local headlines. A student was seriously hurt and media swarmed in to make her a story. Maybe we need to challenge that.
Continue checking flyernews.com for more stories on how the local news outlets handled their coverage of the student’s injury and St. Patrick’s Day at UD.