Friday, March 25, 2005

My Campus Is Burning And Everyone's Watching

As my classmates at WVU probably know, our basketball team's win over Texas Tech last night resulted in the celebratory setting of about 50 fires in Morgantown, leading to four arrests and a vow to ramp up security for Saturday's Louisville game. What you may not have realized is the amount of press coverage (obviously not good coverage) that we're getting from this. Of course the Dominion Post is reporting the story, but get a load of this one: our students made the Drudge Report. No, I'm not kidding. His headline reads "MARCH MADNESS: West Virginia University Students Set More Than 50 Fires To Celebrate Victory." The link itself leads to a Florida news station.

If you still don't think it's big news, Canadian sports website Slam! Sports has a portion of the original report. That's right, Canada is talking about it. We're also mentioned on Canada.com. Disturbing. Pittsburgh and Charleston have articles all through their papers as well, some of which try hard to downplay the gravity of the situation. Thankfully, no serious injuries have been reported.

I fully understand the cause for celebration, and I'm not trying to sound like a doting grandmother, but I'm asking my fellow students to try to keep the after-party reasonable if we win on Saturday. You may not think it's a big deal, but when the AP and other large news services are waiting with bated breath to see if Morgantown will burn to the ground after big games, it's a big deal. The national media already has some images of students in the streets (some of which can be found in these links), and I'm sure more will be released. Even if you don't care about your own reputations, you could be jeopardizing the reputations, careers, and even lives of your friends. The university officials may not like putting it that way, but I don't have any qualms about being blunt.

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