Posted April 11, 2010 at 2:38PM in Politics.
Towards the end of my four years at the Governor’s School, when I began searching for colleges to attend, one of the significant reasons I ultimately chose Bridgewater College was because it was not only religiously affiliated, encouraging “Christian values,” but because it was a dry campus.
I spent a great deal of my early life living with an abusive alcoholic stepfather, and my mind had been trained to panic at the scent of beer and other alcoholic beverages. It was ingrained in me how harmful alcohol could be, and I vowed to be a tee-totaler when I grew up. I most certainly wanted to ensure that I could do my best to avoid the rowdy, violent, and debaucherous harlotries that come with most college parties.
When I came to Bridgewater, I was very disappointed, because, though it claimed to be a dry campus, it seemed that little was done to enforce those regulations. However, recent events have reminded me that, imperfect though it may be, an officially “dry campus” still does much to maintain a habitable, respectable campus community.
For those of you who don’t know, Bridgewater College is located about seven miles south of James Madison University, one of Virginia’s most notorious party schools. Don’t believe me?
This past weekend, JMU hosted one of its infamous “block parties,” usually held twice a year, once in the fall and again in the spring. The revolting behavior (drunkenness, unrestrained lust, harlotrous dressing, and worldly music) is so well-respected by adult-aged “children” across the State that students come from universities far and wide to attend these affairs. The result is that thousands of drunken college students fill the streets surrounding JMU student housing units, requiring the city of Harrisonburg to call on outside police forces from surrounding communities, as well as the Virginia State Police, to monitor the events.
The most recent event, which apparently kicked off on Thursday evening and ran well into the afternoon on Saturday, resulted in unsurmountable vandalism to buildings and vehicles. According to police officers and fire fighters, drunken students on second- and third-story porches were passing out, falling to the ground below. Dumpsters were set on fire.
When police attempted to move in and enforce some semblance of order, students welcomed them by throwing beer bottles at them, and fights broke out. The police responded by firing tear gas into the crowd to disperse it, on the grounds that the party was an unlawful assembly, declaring it a civil disturbance. Riots broke out, resulting in more unnecessary harm to people and assets.
What I find disturbing about all of this is the fact that JMU seems content to allow these events with minimal to no objection. Now, this would be fine if it were a private school where all members of the community were in accord with the activities, and situated in a location where the consequences of these types of events couldn’t threaten the safety of community citizens. However, this school is publicly funded by the tax dollars of the very citizens whose property was destroyed and whose safety was threatened. It is funded by law-abiding citizens who also pay taxes to support the public servants who were called on to clean up the mess its incapable, irresponsible, animal students created. The same public servants whose ranks include a father I spoke with at church this morning whose duty and service as a firefighter was exploited by these disgusting hoodlums whose actions separated him from his family until 3am this morning. And JMU students wonder why they are looked on with scorn by the respectable citizens of Harrisonburg. You don’t hear any Bridgewater College students talking about that sort of reaction from Bridgewater citizens. And no wonder. The latter school maintains a respectable environment where depravity exists but must be searched for (and yes, I’ll admit the campus was a little quieter this weekend). The former maintains an environment notorious for its drive for instant gratification and pursuit of worldly passions and lust, and where respectability doubtless exists, but where seeking it is a challenge.
If you want to see what your State tax dollars funded, take a look at the video clips below. (And you thought you were supporting education. Think again.)
No, I don’t condemn any and everyone who enjoys a drink every now and again. I can’t even say that today I will hold to my earlier vow of tee-totaling. The responsible and respectable use of alcohol by the self-disciplined is to be respected, and not condemned. This, however, is ridiculous. And you and I paid for it.
WHSV News 3 Story
Clips Captured by Party-Goers (warning–language)