While many students are gearing up for this year’s Mifflin Street Block Party and preparing for the changes that will be implemented at this year’s event, the University of Wisconsin Dean of Students Office put forth a simple message Monday: Don’t go.
Dean of Students Lori Berquam released a YouTube video yesterday urging students to forgo the notorious block party, which she said has become more dangerous over the last couple of years and “encourages really smart people to do stupid things.”
In the video she said an example of the stupid behavior is the trend of students advertising and selling shirts that merge the idea of Mifflin with Cinco de Mayo. She said this is hurtful to people in both the campus community and the city.
“So my advice again is, don’t go. Don’t go to that event. It is not a campus event, it is not a city event and it is not a safe event. So don’t go,” she said in the video.
Although she mainly advised viewers to not go to the party, she outlined some guidelines for those who choose to do so. She said students should comply with requests of law enforcement, be culturally responsible, go with trusted friends and not take a drink from a stranger.
UW sophomore Danielle Vogel said she generally agreed with Berquam’s points, but that she thought the video could have been put together better.
“With the script and how she kept saying ‘don’t go’ over and over again I just felt like smacking my head,” she said. “If it had been put together better it might have resonated with more people.
Associated Students of Madison Legislative Affairs Chair Hannah Somers added students need to weigh the pros and cons of going to Mifflin with the recognition that police will be “cracking down,” making staying safe and out of trouble key.
Vogel added that she understood Berquam’s concerns about the “Cinco de Mifflin” t-shirt designs, and that she also agreed with all of her points about general safety guidelines for the event since it was unsafe last year.
Berquam also reminded students that if they are arrested or cited, they will be held responsible by the city, the police and the Dean of Students Office.
Following the video’s posting to YouTube, Internet users immediately began giving their input on the video’s comment forum. At press time, almost 13,000 users had viewed the video. Despite some supportive comments, a large number of posters attacked Berquam’s message and video, eventually sending the clip viral throughout the campus.
Representatives from the Dean of Students office did not return emails for comment.
Jackie Allen contributed to this report.