It’s no secret that Witt loves to party. We’re ranked #9 on Niche’s top party schools in Ohio, and that’s right alongside schools like Ohio University, Miami University and Bowling Green. We have a great nightlife on campus, but is it too much? Are we out of control?
St. Patrick’s Day, like Halloween and Wittfest, is one of those days on campus that spurs many parties, house crawls and taking a knee at 6 in the morning. But do we need to tone it down? There have been a lot of rumors about St. Patrick’s Day and how intense it was this year. Were dozens of people sent to the hospital with alcohol poisoning? Is someone going to sue the housing department?
Lieutenant Lee McCartney believes that there’s no problem with our campus party scene at all, as long as it’s done safely.
“It’s when things are done in an unsafe manner… that the party scene becomes a problem,” McCartney said.
The Wittenberg Police Department does its best to make sure that they’re visible and accessible during big party nights like St. Patrick’s Day, Commencement Day or Wittfest.
“During [Wittfest], we normally have 8 to 10 [officers] at the actual event,” McCartney said. “They’re there to help control the stage, make sure we don’t have people injured or getting stupid. We’ll be at the checkpoint making sure people have their bracelets and things, and then we’ll have 4 to 6 of them actually out on patrol, so we always try to plan ahead for each of those events.”
For other big party days, the police division does their best to anticipate the event and have more police on patrol, not to tighten down and keep any fun from happening, but to make sure that someone is available and immediately accessible in an emergency.
“That’s my number one goal: that everyone stays safe,” McCartney said.
According to McCartney, there was only one reported incident of alcohol poisoning this past St. Patty’s Day, and he assured me that no one was planning on suing the housing department or anyone else: “since the houses are inspected every year, I don’t think it’s been found to be an issue. It was more of an issue how many people were up there, more than anything.”
The police division works hard to make sure that students can still have a fun night without “crossing that line” of safety.
“You’ll find differences across different campuses where there’s zero tolerance and then there’s some where they just kind of turn a blind eye to it,” McCartney said, and he believes that Wittenberg is unique in that area: “with all the personal interactions we have with the students, we get pretty involved in the students lives and talk to them and find out what they need. I think it’s kind of a team effort. We work with them and they work with us.”
When I told him about our ninth-place ranking as a party school, he laughed.
“I’ve been to a lot of other campuses and I can’t really see how we’d be ranked ninth,” he said. “I used to work in Bowling Green and I have never seen a party here at Witt that would come close to theirs. They used to shut down blocks and have block parties.”
But having a great campus party scene isn’t just about how many kegs there are, but about how much fun people have hanging out with each other. Witt may be a small campus, but alcohol alone doesn’t throw a great party. It’s about the people you’re with, and Wittenberg has an excellent environment that creates amazing memories and friendships, with or without alcohol. If students make smart and safe decisions, we do a good job of creating a great nightlife.