My response to Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis

OU students and alumni everywhere, here is the e-mail that was sent out to every parent of an OU student regarding Palmerfest:

“Dear OHIO Parents and Families,

The purpose of my message is to seek your help in sending a clear message to students, reinforcing the importance of smart, civil, safe behaviors. My request parallels that of Ryan Lombardi, our Dean of Students, who has made you aware of the unauthorized multi-house parties in Athens that have historically occurred in off-campus neighborhoods each spring.

On Saturday, April 28th, a number of Ohio University students and their guests engaged in dangerous and illegal behaviors, which have been widely reported in newspapers and on websites. This media coverage has “opened a window” to Ohio University and the Athens community, revealing images that are offensive, frightening, and embarrassing to our students, our distinguished alumni, our local community, and the parents and families of OHIO students and graduates.

We are better than this!  People that live in the Athens community, whether for just a few years or for a lifetime, reject these behaviors and their distortion of what our community is about.  The City of Athens and Ohio University join with your students and their friends and neighbors in condemning this behavior, which posed life-threatening risks and harmed our community.

Last week, our Student Senate issued a resolution condemning these dangerous behaviors.  The Senate resolution supports the stance of the overwhelming majority of our students, faculty, and staff who find this type of behavior destructive to the culture of Ohio University and the relationship that binds the University and the City of Athens.

We have scheduled a Town Hall Meeting for 5 pm this Wednesday, May 9, 2012, at the West Portico of Memorial Auditorium, on the College Green.  Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl and I have invited all community members, including students, to attend.  We will be joined by other University and City leaders to discuss these serious issues and answer questions. Please encourage your son or daughter to attend.

Ohio University, the City of Athens, our students – your sons and daughters – are better than this and we must show it.


Roderick J. McDavis


Ohio University”

If you are like me, this e-mail was not only unnecessary, but ridiculous. We can not sit back and have our University’s president degrade us like this, share your voice! I have e-mailed him my response, and here is what it reads:

President McDavis,With all due respect, the e-mail that was sent out to all the parents of Ohio University students was not only overly demeaning, but 100% unnecessary and untrue. I understand that you have a job to do, and rebuilding our reputation as something more than a party school is a top priority, but responding to the incidents of Palmerfest in that manner is not at all the right thing to do.Saying that “a number of Ohio University students and their guests engaged in dangerous and illegal behaviors, which have been widely reported in newspapers and on websites,” is an egregious stretch of the truth. If you consider police officials abusing their power and tear gassing innocent students “dangerous behavior” on the students behalf, then yes sir, you are correct. If you consider one of my fellow students getting a police baton to the face and being sent to the hospital for, soberly I might add, crossing the street “dangerous behavior,” then yes sir, you are correct. If you consider undercover officers running into a bar and putting myself in handcuffs because they thought my ID from Michigan was fake “illegal behavior,” even though I am 21 years old, then yes sir, you are correct.

But most importantly, you are attempting to put a scare tactic out to all of our parents and have them diminish their image of our college, and that sir, is dangerous behavior.

Every single student that is lucky enough to call themselves an Ohio University Bobcat has an immense amount of respect for their college and their campus, and maybe you are not out enough on our campus to realize this.

As a leader of my organization, and a representative for all of greek life, the disrespect here is absolutely undeniable. Saying that we embarrassed our local community… Well sir, let me state my rebuttal on that statement. While you collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in perhaps the poorest community in Ohio, we (and by we, I mean all of greek life, as well as many other student organizations) are out finding new ways to make our community better. Tens of thousands of dollars are collected every year that go out to respected charities, as well as our community to help rebuild and make it better.

A week ago, all the fraternities on campus pitched in to help a student who was affected by the tornado last year. The kid has almost no money, works 2 jobs, plays 3 sports, and is a great example of perseverance. His dream was to have a suit for prom. So we all helped out by purchasing a suit, shoes, a watch, cologne, hair gel, etc. But that wasn’t in your e-mail was it? Just this Saturday, my fraternity raised hundreds of dollars to help students with disabilities, but that wasn’t in your e-mail was it? Next weekend, Sigma Kappa is holding a golf outing in which they will raise over a thousand dollars for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, but that wasn’t in your e-mail was it? Earlier this year, the language department held a can drive that ended up raising an 8-foot-tall pyramid of canned goods for our struggling community, but that wasn’t in your e-mail was it? These are just a few examples, and believe me, I could go all day.

President McDavis, I respect your position, I really do, but handling the situation in the way you have is not even close to the right one. Obviously, there are students that made poor decisions that day, I’m not denying that. But you are looking at a number around 25 students. Deciding to send a message with that aggressive of a tone, and placing it upon 20,000 students is absolutely absurd.

Some drunken student that was visiting attempted to set a house on fire, not an OU student. Out of all the arrests made during fest season, not even half of them are OU students. The aggravated rioting charge from two years ago during palmerfest, which is perhaps the most aggressive offense in my college career, was not an OU student. And most importantly, the people that have the dearest respect, and absolute love for this campus and our community, are OU students.

My greatest fear as a student here is that my degree will be diminished by our school’s reputation; however, having the interview skills to find a way to turn our social life into a positive is what helps me realize this will never be problem.

But having our University’s president exaggerating the actions of OU students is in no way helping the 20,000 of us who share this same fear of our degree’s being somehow lessened. You sir, are better than that.

Once again, with all due respect,

Shane Darrow
President – Pi Kappa Phi: Theta Chi Chapter


55 thoughts on “My response to Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis

  1. As a bobcat who bothered to learn grammar, than != then. I’d have a lot more interest in your opinion if it were not a further indication of the joke that OU academia has become.

      1. You slipped every time you should have used the word “then” (at least two that you haven’t corrected yet). I’m not saying your point is invalid, but my point is that your effort to prove OU is more than frat parties and stupidity is being hindered by your grammar. I’m sure if I talked to you in person, you’d use the right word, but in text, my measure of your intellect relies solely on your grammar and spelling.

        I also think that, in general, the image of OU as a party-only school is pretty spot on. It sucks for those of us who do not fall into that bracket (I, for example, didn’t have a beer until I was in graduate school, obviously I’m in the minority there, but people attending to learn are present), but it is definitely the truth. The reason it needs to change is not for the students, but for the alumni who have trouble finding a job because their diploma comes tainted by the party stench, and that’s the reason it doesn’t change. Students don’t recognize the problem until they leave the school and figure that out.

        As for the police reaction to the festivals, you can’t tell me you don’t understand that? They’re supposed to keep peace, while allowing the party to happen and outnumbered several hundred (or thousand) to one in ratio. If I were a cop assigned to Palmerfest and you broke a law (even a minor one such as the jaywalker in your example), I’d come down pretty hard and fast too, only relenting once the situation proved to be a non-issue. Would you rather the alternative? How about the next time there’s a party, the cops just stay out and the fire department responds with “It’s unsafe for us to respond to your call at this time” and lets the fire take out not just one house, but maybe three. And maybe 5 students lives with it.

        The point is, there must be a balance. Parties are fun, even the OUPD and APD understand and probably agree with that, but the rules laid down (stay out of the street, don’t have open container on the sidewalk, etc.) have to be obeyed or things can get out of hand quickly and become not only frustrating, but tragic.

      2. Kyle’s a douche. Clearly you didn’t have a beer til graduate school because you’re a caged in, sheltered child who doesn’t know how to have fun.

      3. Kyle,

        The fests have really dimmed down over the years, and of course there are going to be kids drinking underage. It’s college, and that doesn’t make those students bad people.

        My main focus was that he is throwing fuel on the fire, and his response to the parents isn’t being proactive at all. Also, I feel a lot of the points he made in the e-mail were heavily exaggerated.

        I understand the police have a job to do. I understand that there are going to be people that are out of control and only law enforcement can settle them down; however, they abuse their power all the time, and there is also no denying that.

        The grammar thing… I was anxious to post it and didn’t do the greatest job editing. In general I’m just not a great editor, which is why I have one for the website I write for.

        Applying for internships is the same process as applying for jobs, and believe me I’ve been asked multiple times about our “party reputation.” I think you would be surprised how many companies are looking for people that can not only work hard, but also make contributions socially. That is the point I drive home in interviews – if they want a stiff, I’m just not going to be their guy, and I know both parties can accept that.

        Like I mentioned, I share the same fear that our degrees will be diminished somewhat because of OU’s reputation, but it is a part of our culture, and it always will be. I just believe throwing the blame on almost 20,000 students for damage that was mainly caused by students that don’t even go to OU is what bothered me, and the overall general tone of the e-mail.

        Appreciate the input though, and I know the first part of being a writer is that people will always disagree.

    1. So…you’re saying that you (being a bobcat) is going to harass him and talk about how OU (which you just said you were a part of) is a joke? Hm…serious dedication there.

      Hopefully, I have no grammatical errors there…But if I did, I know who to look for!

      1. Actually you do have a grammatical error. It should not be “you (being a bobcat) IS going,” it should be “you (being a bobcat) ARE going”….

    2. Hello, Kyle. One of the main tenants of grammar is to never start a sentence with a preposition. Cheers.

      1. Um, yeah, I think you meant “tenets”. Nobody actually LIVES in grammar, you see.

        I love how you self-righteous grammar nazis can’t even get it right yourselves. Those who live in glass houses…

    3. Kyle,

      I know that everyone is entitled to their own opinion but with all due respect your response to Mr.Darrow’s e-mail is one of the most ignorant things I have read in a very long time. I will briefly explain why.

      First off, basic grammar, such as knowing the difference between homophones, is taught in grade school not college. As a result of this, I see no correlation between Mr.Darrow’s small grammatical error and his OU education. Therefore, as a result your point about how using than instead of then indicates OU education becoming a “joke” is null and void and absolutely ridiculous.

      Next I will explain why you should strongly reconsider you opinion on the party label being “spot on”. Before I get into this I think it is important for you to understand that partying occurs on every campus across the nation, not just Ohio University. Large school, small school, private, public it doesn’t matter. College students party, they get arrested, it happens everywhere get over it. As Mr.Darrow pointed out most of the major issues(which are the issues President McDavis e-mailed the OU parents about) are not caused by OU students but rather young adults visiting the university. Please explain to me why the OU students should be blamed for the behavior of young adults who cannot control themselves. I really wish that this fact would be included in every news story that focused on the issues that arose during the fest so people wouldn’t assume it was only OU students. Don’t mistake me, I’m not saying the OU students are saints, I’m simply trying to say that the large crimes that caused all of this drama in the first place were not committed by just the OU students. If it was just the OU students causing all of these issues wouldn’t they be occurring all year long and not on a few specific weekends? If these visitors would learn to behave themselves OU would just be another school with a few big parties. I believe this shows that unless you brand every university or college across the nation that has a big party as “a party-only school” OU is not “a party-only school” and should not be singled out.

      Next I will move on to your absolutely absurd justification of why some OU grads “have trouble finding jobs”. I feel sorry for you if you honestly think it is because of the school’s reputation, I really do. That’s a terrible excuse. Did you ever consider that difficulty finding a job might have something to do with the current state of the economy?? (That’s a different conversation for a different day.) I don’t know about you but I’m strongly of the opinion that, it isn’t about the education you get, it’s about what you make of it. For example, my father attended a tech school at night and earned a two year degree. He had to work very hard for a long time but now he owns his own small business and employs over 50 people. Are you saying his two year degree has more meaning than an OU degree? I know, one example doesn’t prove my point but countless people across this nation make a living with no college degree or with ones that are far inferior to even a “tainted” OU degree. This is why if an OU grad has “trouble finding a job” they have nobody to blame but themselves. If they try hard enough, make enough calls, talk to enough people they could easily find a job even in our tough economic times.

      As far as your thoughts on the reactions of the police go, get ready for this, I actually agree with you. However, I also agree with Mr.Darrow. As you pointed out there does need to be a balance between harsh reactions and the lack of reaction. OUPD, APD, and the “liquor police” should be focused on keeping things from getting out of hand and reacting if things do. However, more often than not they focus on getting as many arrests as possible and as Mr.Darrow said “they abuse their power and there is no denying that.” Again, don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I am by no means saying the law enforcement should not be present at, or make arrests at the fests because they most definitely should but rather I am saying that they need to reevaluate their focus.

      1. Every valid point I would like to get across, is perfectly put in this post. As a student and a citizen I am appalled with how the police and political parties respond to the campus fests. They spend 10’s of thousands of dollars sending police to these fests when we live around some of the largest heroin and crystal meth counties in Ohio. Honestly, the money and law enforcement could be used for much more productive activity and save MORE lives (AND HELP MORE FAMILIES WHO NEED AND WANT/ASK for THE HELP) if they focused on other problems.

  2. Are you serious? What a joke! I surely hope the president emailed you back in disgust with your email response. Take responsibility for the disgusting actions of your peers. We are all guilty by association. The president was correct in all he said. All parents need to know the situation in hopes that maybe they can deter their children to follow in the footsteps of the hooligans who damage Athens and OU, and possibly kill someone, with their irresponsible and immature actions. By defending these idiots, you are just as responsible. Be mature and responsible and be proactive is stopping their actions. the president had every right to condemn and alert parents of this behavior. I have attended these irresponsible and non-approved events and they ate destructive. How can you also blame police??? Are you serious? Those who protect you are not at fault. You have a lot to learn young pup. Time to grow up. Think this is allowed in the real world. You’ll find out differently. Use your power to better OU, not make you and your organization look like supporters of such aggregious actions. Blame those who made the fests into deadly gatherings instead of those trying to protect us and the lives and reputations of residents and students. Show some respect and love for OU. “With all due respect…”

    1. First off, I appreciate the response, and I understand some of your points.

      Second off, it is difficult to take responsibility for the actions of peers that don’t even go to OU. The two main incidents that I believe he is referring to are obviously the house fire, which was started by a Kent State student, and the video of a girl drunkenly talking about it that went viral, and she also does not go to OU. I’m the first one that is disgusted when people come here and disrespect it.

      Third off, I’m not blaming police, I know they have a job to do, and a difficult one at that. But they abuse their power all the time, and if you have attended some of the fests it is obvious. I got tear gassed my freshman year (soberly I might add) after following their commands to go in a house. For the most part they did the right thing this year, and shut the whole street down.

      I would also like to thank you for the advice that I have a lot to learn. Speaking out to administration is a pretty bold thing to do in my opinion, and the first amendment is there for a reason. As far as the real world goes, considering I have been working since I was 14, and have spent a lot of time applying for internships as well as possible jobs for when I graduate, I feel like I have grasped a solid idea. Not to mention my father, who holds a very prestigious position with a very well known company has mentored me on what the real world is about.

      Show some respect and love for OU, and use your power to better OU… come on. I guess raising money for charities, helping tornado victims from the county, raising canned foods for a community that is struggling immensely, and my personal organization doing probably well over 500 hours of community service in the three years I have been here is just not enough for you I guess.

      OU is not only about partying, it is a part of our culture and a part of our lifestyle, but behind it all is nearly 20,000 students that love this campus, and will do whatever they can to better it, don’t ever question that.

      1. I think my favorite part is… “Not to mention my father, who holds a very prestigious position with a very well known company…” Possibly the most vague thing I’ve read yet, not to mention irrelevant.

    2. “We are all guilty by association…” “these irresponsible and ‘non-approved’ events… think this is allowed in the real world?”

      You sound like such an obedient little puppet. Do you write your Congressman asking permission to take a dump?

      It is police presence and the tension they purposefully provoke that cause most of the violence and resulting bad reputation that ever happens. The mayor was waiting and hoping that something, anything, would happen so that he could declare Palmer a riot zone and shut it down. If not for their stoking the fire and trying so hard to clamp down on the fests, it would have just been another weekend of people getting drunk more or less like usual.

      People are going to do what they’re going to do. Unless your ideal society is North Korea, you have to let them do that, and protect them–not turn every public gathering into a probable riot zone by amassing horse cops and swat teams.

  3. It doesn’t matter if the people getting arrested aren’t OU students. They are at an OU student sanctioned party at OU. It makes the entire university look bad by association.

    1. I complete agree with you. It’s just frustrating that the student population as a whole is getting stereotyped when it was one kid, who doesn’t even go here, that ruined it for everyone.

  4. Lesson: if you are attempting to be taken seriously by a letter, clearly present your argument and not by some jumbled thoughts. Also, if it is to an individual, a hand written letter would take you much further than an email.

    As for ‘guilty by association,’ it is true to a degree. Be young, have fun. But if the police end up shutting an event down, just go with it because they have made their decision. With a house on fire during an event when the chances of no one being sober, especially between the ages of 18 – 22 are present, you need to shut it down or it will just fuel the chaos.

    I looked up a few videos, one had a kid being chased by an officer on horseback. You have no idea what they did off camera for the kid to be chased. I’m a college student but I have seen my friends and others at party schools be arrested for doing some pretty dumb shit. They would claim to have not done anything, but lets be real here, they did.

    As for the greek life comment, I don’t know if Palmerfest is something hosted by the greek community but I’m assuming that it is. Being greek, I agree with philanthropy 100% but your rebuttal doesn’t make much sense in the context of what you are arguing. If you are talking about the entire student body, talk about the entire student body and not a fraction of it. If the greek community was 80% or more, it would make a good point but not in this context. On another note, the reputation that greeks have at OU is not the best. Raising money is good but walk the walk if you talk the talk. The hazing that has shut organizations down and that is continually accepted on the campus does the reverse of what you are pontificating to the university president. He and the rest of the administration knows what is going on. Maybe Pi Kapp at OU is different then the others but with group think and the campus reputation, not likely.

    Heed my advice for the next time you want to post something on the internet or your professionalism in life.

    – Common Sense, Paine
    Ohio student

    1. I didn’t delete your reply, I just had to approve it first, so I’m sorry for the delay. The main point of my response was that there has been a failure to highlight the positives of our students, and the complete focus on negativity is what is hurting our reputation.

      As for hazing, Pi Kapp doesn’t haze, and I’m not saying that to say that, it’s true.

      This years Palmerfest was very tame, and the fests in general have died down since I have been here. I also completely agreed with shutting it down after the fire, it was the right thing to do.

      I appreciate the response, and I’m just trying to have a say.

  5. What about the hazing that goes on in the OU greek community? I know it is pretty bad there. Raising money is good but if you are going to talk the talk, then walk the walk. I don’t know if Pi Kapp is any different but considering the culture in the community there, I highly doubt it.

    I wrote a pretty well organized argument but it seems to be deleted. Lets see if this goes through.

    – Common sense
    Greek College Student

  6. Minus the fire set by a visiting student, this year’s Palmer Fest was actually pretty tame. It certainly wasn’t a riot, and it certainly wasn’t violent. Though the fire was definitely bad, it was really kind of an isolated incident.

    …just a point of interest! 🙂

  7. Minus the fire set by a visiting student, this year’s Palmer Fest was actually pretty tame. It certainly wasn’t a riot, and it certainly wasn’t violent.

  8. “With all due respect, the e-mail that was sent out to all the parents of Ohio University students was not only overly demeaning, but 100% unnecessary and untrue.”

    Hyperbole much? He said “a number” of students. He didn’t say “every” student.

    “‘A number of Ohio University students and their guests engaged in dangerous and illegal behaviors, which have been widely reported in newspapers and on websites,’ is an egregious stretch of the truth.”

    Really? ‘Cause it isn’t. A house caught on fire. That’s dangerous. It didn’t catch on fire ’cause everyone was at Bible study. Thousands of folks were binge drinking. That’s dangerous. He’s not stretching the truth. He’s stating facts. I like binge drinking as much — probably more — than the next guy, but that doesn’t change the fact that an early morning jog would be a helluva lot better for me health.

    McDavis didn’t say fraternities, sororities or other student organizations don’t help out the community. Ever heard of a straw man argument?

    Do the cops that the Athens PD has to bus in get power boners and unleash them on unsuspecting students? You betchya. Would the Athens PD have to bus in cops from out of town if Palmer didn’t keep escalating year after year? Remember when it was just couches in the middle of the street that caught on fire?

    Seriously though, what’s Rowdy Roddy supposed to say?

    Dear Parents,

    Don’t know if you’ve heard about it yet, but yeah… so you know those Fests we have? Well at one of them, it got just a wee bit out of hand and a house sorta caught on fire. At first I, like everyone else, thought it was frickin’ awesome. But then the A-hole cops came and broke everything up because they hate your kids having a good time. Don’t they know fires burn out way faster with a bunch of sloshed college students chanting “USA! USA!” around them? I mean the kids who had all their stuff burnt/lives put in direct jeopardy even thought it was sweet. Besides everyone knows it’s totally just people who come to visit that get in trouble during fests. I guarantee it was some kid from Miami that started the fire! Don’t worry though, we’ve got this sh*t on lock. Plus, Pi Phi for guys just raised $50 for breast cancer with a bake sale, so that makes up for it. Talk to you again when I hike the tuition.


    President McD

    Congratulations, Kyle. You just made me defend McDavis. I feel like I need a shower.

    1. Correction: Congratulations, Shane Darrow. You just made me defend McDavis. I feel like I need a shower.

      Congratulations, Kyle. You’re super great a grammar and Shane’s not!

  9. First of all, who cares about the grammar. Pay attention to the message that he is trying to get across and not about some stupid grammatical errors. He is 1 of 20,000 students who was bold enough to voice his opinion on the issue. He is speaking on behalf of Ohio University, and as a student myself, his entire e-mail describes exactly how many of us feel.

  10. This kid is an idiot. Riddled with terrible writing and deliberate condescension, this diatribe entirely misses the point of the president’s letter. The mass of student drunkenness that is Palmerfest is the danger of which the pesident speaks. It has no rightful place in an institution of learning. By this I mean that OU’s purpose is for learning, not partying, and its administration does not recognize the right for its students to partake in drunken debauchery on or around its borders (I tentatively assume that OU owns the land on which Palmerfest takes place? Regardless, I don’t believe any municipality would recognize the right of its citizens to get beligerent in a large group within its limits). This frat star seems to think that his fraternity’s charitable acts have earned them the right to participate in this kind of behavior.

    That being said, I love getting blacked out in and around OU. Of course I think that college students letting loose and partying en masse is a great thing. However, I would never go so far as to argue, as this fucking moron does, that a) the collective behavior of any OU fest is highly debaucherous and b) that OU students have some kind of right to do so.

    In summary, if the purpose of this laughable attempt at a professional letter is anything but to insult the president – loosen fest security, for example – it will accomplish the opposite due to the idiocy and arrogance of its author.

    1. “The mass of student drunkenness that is Palmerfest is the danger of which the pesident speaks. It has no rightful place in an institution of learning.” -That’s why Palmerfest is on a Saturday on Palmer Street (off campus) and not on college green behind chubb hall on a Monday afternoon.

  11. Shane,

    I could not agree more with your statements. Ohio University students have done more good for the Athens community than can be described. Without OU, Athens would only be known as one of the poorest counties in Ohio with the highest rate of homelessness.

    President McDavis does have a job to do, but in my eyes he is reducing the value Ohio University in parents eyes. I paid my way through school but for those students whose parents are paying, it seems counter-productive.

    More than anything, I am impressed with the fortitude it took to speak your mind and accept the criticisms that come with it.

    As an alumnus, I still could not be prouder to be a Bobcat these people posting negative feedback are speaking out of ignorance.

    One last thing: “debaucherous” TimTom? Where did you go to school? OSU?

  12. The only thing that matters is if students are concerned with OU’s “reputation”. Those who think their degree will be tainted or diminished because of the party school reputation shouldn’t go to school here.

    Other than that we Bobcats don’t really care what you guys think.

    That is common sense to me

  13. Proud OU Alum,

    As a two-time alum of Ohio University (BSC ’05, Masters ’07), as well as a former member of the Ohio University Greek community, I strongly disagree with Shane’s tone of his assessment, as well as your assertion that negative feedback provided by commenters implies that we are speaking out of ignorance. The below feedback is constructive criticism that I hope is helpful.


    I applaud your willingness to step out into the public square and provide, what you perceive, to be helpful feedback to President McDavis. There can be no question that a letter home to parents is probably one of the strongest message that a University President can send, as it is the parents that often are shouldering the enormous burden of rising tuition. Remember, that your voice is valuable and appreciated and I hope that you keep your voice long after you leave Athens.

    I must warn you, however, that your letter’s tone undermines your credibility to construct a meaningful dialog with the Administration. I would also add that adding the term “with all due respect,” does not make it any less disrespectful when criticizing the actions of the President, without offering reasonable alternatives.

    Two things stand out in your letter that deserve your attention.

    1) If anyone understands the great things that the Greek community at Ohio University does and it’s contribution to the campus experience, it’s President and Mrs. McDavis: he is a member of a fraternity (Omega Psi Phi), Mrs. McDavis is in a sorority (Delta Sigma Theta). Just because he does not highlight, in this letter, the great things that Ohio University students are doing (the championship forensics team, the basketball and football team, etc.) does not mean that he is not proud of what Ohio University students do everyday.

    But in this instance, this is a national story, one that has creates headlines and Facebook meme’s (you know what I am talking about) the world over. This has the potential to do more damage to a school’s reputation in a week than 10 years of even that best marketing. What he has to do is to say that parents can play a role in having that dialog with their kids about the difference between having folks over to party and completely losing control of goes on on your property (of which the parents might even be co-signers).

    2) I also want you to think about this politically. Although it is complete speculation, I would hypothesize that Dr. McDavis probably heard from some irate parents and/or Board of Trustees after this incident who were probably wondering what is happening to the students whereby this situation can get so out of control so quickly. Perhaps his letter, and subsequent town hall, is his way of answering anyone who questions how Ohio University responded: that he, faculty and the Student Senate did X, Y and Z. This is important both in the perception of the University, the value of the OU diploma, the recruiting of future students and fundraising.

    In closing and summary, I would say that your anger, while well intentioned, can be better directed. For far too long, students from others schools have come to OU (Halloween, PalmerFest, all of the NumberFests) to act like fools. Then, something happens and OU students usually shoulder the burden of a) cleaning up b) blame c) cost and/or d) sanctions.

    I hope that you, as a leader in the Greek and OU community, take a strong stance against students coming and trashing OU and the Athens community. I can assure you, that if you start with this common ground and work with the Administration (because I am sure they feel the same), your words will go much further in giving your feedback that a letter home to the entire student body was not the best response to the PalmerFest events.

    I wish you the best in your studies and your experience at OU. It’s an experience that lasts a lifetime.

    1. I honestly really appreciate your courtesy and your honest opinion, and I will do my best to try and share my purpose for writing the e-mail that I did.

      I understand that President McDavis knows what greek life does for campus and the community as a whole. The main point was that he has consistently focused on the negativity of our campus. Our reputation as a college is tainted for sure, due to this years rankings, via the Princeton Reviews, as marking us as the top party school in the nation; however, reinforcing this to the parents of our student body isn’t a proactive solution to fixing this view.

      What bothers me the most about the e-mail that he sent out was that he targeted the entire student population, when the incident at hand was caused by one kid who does not attend our university.

      The situation was handled really well by the police force, and that should have been the end of it. It was an unfortunate incident, and there is no denying that, but sending out an e-mail to every parent blaming the student body (at least that was my take of his tone) was simply unnecessary.

      I completely agree with you when you say that outraged parents probably attacked him for what happened at Palmerfest, but as a student that attended it, the fest was completely under control and by far the tamest one I have attended.

      I love everything about OU, and the “party scene” is a large part, but we are so much more than that. The most frustrating part was that it felt like he was reiterating the statement that drinking is all that we are about, when we both know that is so far from the truth.

      All I wanted to get across was that there are better ways to handle the situation, and if he focuses on enlightening the parents of OU students of all the positivity that this campus creates, it will make for a much less stressful environment.

      Thank you again for your response, and believe me, I will do everything I can to try and represent Ohio University in a positive manner.

      1. Shane,

        You have consistently and repeatedly stated that McDavis “targeted the entire student population, when the incident at hand was caused by one kid who does not attend our university.”

        Did you bother to read the email? It CLEARLY states “a number of Ohio University students and their guests engaged in dangerous and illegal behaviors.” A NUMBER. Not the entire population. Essentially, the point you are trying to make is moot.

        I am a fellow Bobcat, and I was at PalmerFest. It was more than one kid engaging in this behavior, and, some of them were, in fact, other fellow Bobcats. You trying to blame this one kid who doesn’t even go here is like blaming one single aerosol can of Cool Whip for the depletion of the entire ozone layer in the atmosphere. We are all to blame. The only way for this to stop and for us to have our fests’ back is to stop inviting our dipshit friends into town for them, and then actually acting like the responsible young adults that we should be.

        I do applaud your audacity and gumption in responding to McDavis’ letter, and it is a quality that will prove useful in your future. However, you REALLY must learn the proper way to respond to something such as this. Your response was as half-assed as one butt cheek, and really didn’t address the point McDavis was trying to make in his letter. Your self-righteous and indignant attitude was very apparent, very unappreciated and very unprofessional. The Greek community is a small part of the OU student population, and you really had no business mentioning it in your response because it doesn’t relate to this incident. Instead, you should have focused on an alternative solution to the problem, or the positive things that you saw people doing that day rather than just attacking the President.

        In closing, I would highly suggest that: 1) You thoroughly read and comprehend what you’re reading before composing a response 2) Think about the tone you are using and how it will be perceived by the reader and 3) Make sure your response is actually on message and on point, otherwise you will not be taken seriously.


  14. Okay, it says on your blog that you’re in Scripps.
    Shouldn’t you be using proper grammar?
    I’ve always thought Scripps was a descent journalism school that supposedly produces some of the best journalists.

    And for all those out there saying grammar doesn’t matter, you’re objectively wrong; good grammar gives credibility to the writer, whereas bad grammar only makes readers (at least the moderately erudite ones) turn away before you even have a chance to have your points heard.
    Bad grammar is a sign of carelessness and/or lack of elementary education.
    Especially as a journalist, this guy should’ve used proper grammar.
    Seriously, look at all those subject-verb disagreements, run-on’s, and incomplete thoughts.
    What is this, some experimental stream-of-consciousness writing? No; it’s a letter addressed to the president of an academic institution, trying to make an argument.

    Also, please stop thinking you’re saving the world because you’ve done 500 hours of community service in the past three years. That’s a mere average of approximately 27.4 minutes per day in the past three years that you’ve claimed to have been doing service for.
    Volunteering is good and all, but damn, you’re self-righteous. There are people in the world who serve others for their entire lives.
    You should be embarrassed for thinking that helping others should elevate you to some saint-like status; rather, as a human race, helping each other should just be a natural part of our daily lives.

    By the way, as a townie who has lived in Athens for over a decade, I can tell you right now that the general consensus among the community members toward the Greek life scene/party culture at OU is negative rather than positive. The community services you guys offer are great, and I’m sure the community is grateful for that. But the cases of fires (okay, the couch was kind of funny; car… not so much; house… is beyond ridiculous, regardless of whether it was an OU student or not that set it on fire), sexual assault cases, and violence tip the balance in favor of the negative aspects.

    Last thing – it would have been completely irresponsible as the president of OU for McDavis to not have made some type of response to the fire. As for the parents that received the email, they have every right to know what is going on at the institution that they are sending their children to, paying thousands of dollars per year. I’m not even a fan of McDavis, but you seemed to have taken the email way too personally. The contents of the email suggest that McDavis wants OU students to show that they disapprove of such behaviors, and to redeem and improve OU’s image. Nowhere in the email does he specifically blame or target the OU student body. Since you seem pretty adamant that most of these behaviors are by students from other institutions, shouldn’t you be agreeing with the message McDavis is sending out, and wanting to show that OU isn’t only about the debauchery that it’s been gaining media coverage for?

    – a townie that went out of town for college to avoid exactly this type of image that OU has.

    1. Townie,

      Thank you so much for your response. I want the input of every person affected by OU, and being that you have lived in Athens for over a decade, that of course involves you.

      Yes, I am in Scripps. I apologize that I gave a lackluster effort at editing my own piece, and failed to recognize all the grammatical errors that I had in the e-mail. As I mentioned in previous comments, editing just isn’t my thing, there is a reason why I have one for the website that I write for. Please do not criticize Scripps as a whole for my lack of judgment. As far as the subject-verb disagreements, I write with a style that is being adapted more and more across the world wide web, it’s a type of writing style that is read off the page as more of a verbal conversation, as opposed to a written document. But that is neither here nor there.

      I understand fully that the view of greek life is negative, and believe me you are not alone. Nationwide the view of greek life is negative, not only due to media outlets, but due to the common assumption that greek life is strictly about hazing and drinking. I will be the first one to try and defy this stereotype, but people tend to disagree with one mans theory. As the head of my organization, I know that our main focuses are on philanthropy, community service, and scholarship, and whether or not you choose to believe that is not up to me.

      And I don’t know if you meant to do this, but in your reply it seemed that you are blaming the fires on greek life, and we have never been associated with any of them during fest season. Sexual assault cases.. there have been a few, but none EVER associated with my personal organization and the few that have been speculated upon our greek system as a whole were mainly proved to be falsely identified. So once again, I am going to back up all of greek life by saying that it is stereotype and false perception that leads to the negative view placed upon us.

      When I mentioned our hours of community service, the point wasn’t to put myself to some sort of saint-like status like you mentioned, the point was that President McDavis for years has failed to show the positivity that comes out of our campus. Every e-mail or statement that he has delivered in recent memory has focused on negativity, and that is in no way helping our image.

      If you believe that I took his words out of context, then we are going to have to agree to disagree. There is a reason why that particular e-mail was sent to solely the parents, and not the students.

      I really do appreciate your input, but please realize that the response I received today has helped me believe that I am saying what thousands of students believe, and as a student leader that is all I can really do.

      I don’t view myself above anyone else that graces campus, I am just one kid with one voice who happened to wake up this morning and have the courage to speak his mind, because I believe the world needs more of that. We’re a college, we party, bad things happen at times; but, dwelling on the negativity while failing to show the positive actions that we do as a whole is what is diminishing our reputation, and that sir, is my argument.

      1. Points taken.
        And just to clarify, I wasn’t blaming the fires on Greek life or attacking any specific frat.
        But thank you for taking responsibility for what you’ve written by responding to these replies rather than taking down your original post and/or ignoring the replies; I appreciate and respect that.

  15. “One ‘oh sh&t’ can erase a thousand atta boys.” ~Scott Adams. I am a third generation Bobcat. Yes, many students do wonderful things on campus and off to improve the lives of others. The media, however, is less interested in those acts when compared to the salacious details of things gone wrong. Mistakes in judgment are amplified by the media and our culture. Unfortunately, those mistakes set the reputation in the eyes of those not familiar with the giving nature of our students and alumni.

  16. 2 things I find funny (besides all the argument over grammar) –

    1. Justifying binge drinking with community service. (Think of all the money you could donate if you didn’t buy booze, as well as how much more community service you could do with all that time not being drunk!)

    2. Blaming such unfortunate events on outsiders, who just so happened to be at your parties, drinking your drinks. I wonder if they would have still been there if your party scene were a little less infamous?

    You are writing about major 1st world problems. Millions of people would kill to be in the position you are in, and would take much greater advantage of it. Get over your petty schoolboy argument, its not helping anyone.

  17. a number of Ohio University students and their guests engaged in dangerous and illegal behaviors, which have been widely reported in newspapers and on websites” is not a stretch of the truth. Unless you’re a senior (some juniors) then you’re drinking underage which is *DING* illegal and id consider the drugs I saw a little dangerous. Manageable when used right but definitely dangerous nonetheless. McDavis simply had to address the topic and sent out an email saying “we’re better than this”. Get your fuckin panties out of your ass.

  18. Honestly, it’s just like a bobcat to get angry over something such as this. That e-mail to parents will obviously not change anything and neither will yours to the president. OU is a party school, I was a student there, the reason students aren’t the ones getting in trouble is because as a former student, bobcats know how to avoid the law, visiting students make mistakes, get caught. Don’t act like you’re all so innocent, I love that school with all my heart and don’t want to see it change, but sometimes enough is enough and you as a young adult should be able to recognize this. Take action, if you feel Mcdavis was over the top, use your powers of persuasion to convince your fellow students to party responsibly, to handle their guests so their image doesn’t beseech your own and to still make it fun. I agree with the point of grammar being important, you do not want to send a e-mail to anyone in a position higher then your own, with mistakes, leading them to dismiss you as anything notable. However you all arguing over it on here is ridiculous, those who can’t help but insult others are the weakest of all people. I do strongly suggest you take a step back and look at the core of all this, students throw the parties in the intention that they will be fun and crazy, students invite people to Athens for these parties, students are the core of the problem and also the solution. That is why Mcdavis e-mailed your families, to stir you up see if you would take action. Your efforts to better the community are respectful, I enjoy seeing people who will do those types of things but don’t counteract your efforts with a wrong. One last thing we know all colleges party, but if you party somewhere else, it is not the same, as I’m sure you’re well aware of. OU is on a different level this is why you have the overall party image. Don’t act like you don’t throw parties or drink every week/weekend. Ive been to other schools, things are fun, but toned down and safe all the time. That’s why OU got its party image, students promote it. You may talk the talk and act like you don’t, but as a former student, athlete, and member of multiple originations down there I sure as hell know you do, just like everyone else. Good day to you. Don’t forget to prepare for thirsty Thursday tomorrow you stellar stellar lad you!

  19. You have a very valid point here. The problems with the fests far overshadow the news about the students doing things that enhance the community, from volunteering services, to raising money for events, to cleaning streets and the riverside.

    As an Ohio U student turned community member turned non-traditional student, I find it sad that the community, and particularly the media, focuses on these weekend events and give the positive news page 10 coverage. When I was a student in the late 70’s it was difficult to hear statements that blamed ALL Ohio U students for the damage done on Court St. during the then unsanctioned Halloween party. I was never a part of that, and neither were the majority of those I knew well.

    However, for the safety of the participants of these fests and the for the safety of the community, its property, and the residents of the streets involved and those surrounding, something needs to be done to prevent the highly dangerous situations that occur. Blocking officials called to put out a fire is not only illegal, but it could also have devastating consequences. Read about the Chicago fire of 1871, which started in a barn, lasted two days, and destroyed 3.3 miles of homes and businesses.

    Partying is done by a small majority of students, and undoubtedly word is not spread that the damage caused is very often done by those who come from out of town to attend the parties. That kind of information being withheld is a great injustice to the Ohio students who are not involved in any way, or who attend the parties responsibly.

    While the email sent by President McDavis held some valid concern, it probably could have, and should have pointed out that the majority of the students are outstanding citizens who enhance the community and the university, he undoubtedly is frustrated that the university gains the media attention of these parties, which, eventually, reflects on his presidential abilities. Sending an email to parents of adults may be unnecessary, but I know that when I was a student in the late 70’s, had my parents gotten such a letter, I’d have been asked what, if any, involvement I had in the situation. If they found me in any way culpable, they’d have cut off financial support.

    There are two sides to this: Valid concerns on the part of the officials and valid complaints about the entire student body having to take responsibility for the actions of a very small percentage of the students.

    Please attend tonight’s town meeting to help reach a resolution for this. Voice your opinions rationally, without anger, and have a list of possible solutions, including the need to have more front page coverage about the positive actions of the student.

  20. Email from home after parents received McDavis’ letter:

    “So what dangerous and illegal activities happened last weekend? Only thing in the news up here was the fire on Palmer St. (which they are saying was arson and I know that is dangerous). Just wondered what else went on…”

    I honestly could not answer that. So, he is right that McDavis’ letter gave off an impression that it was a little more riotous than it was. I have no real qualm with either side on this, but it was at least interesting to see how a parent read into the letter.

  21. McDavis sent out a letter letting parents know what happened, and then invited students to attend a meeting to come to an agreement about how to handle the fests. This seems ridiculous to you, DareToBro? You seem to completely miss the point. Stop nitpicking at what McDavis said. You have to be off your rocker if you don’t think “a number of Ohio University students and their guests engaged in dangerous and illegal behaviors.” Perhaps even more so if you condemn the actions of the police.

    The point of McDavis’ letter (it’s a shame I feel I have to point this out to you) is to involve students in a resolution. I can’t imaging the crap he’d get if he instead just came out and said, “Well, we warned you twice with the couch fires. The house is strike three. No more fests,” even though such a decision is fully warranted. You are so defensive and paranoid. McDavis is giving the students a chance to get their word in. And that bothers you?

    This is not about you. It’s not about the majority of the students. It’s about the few bad apples that ruin the bunch. You think because 99.9% of the people at Palmerfest had fun that we should overlook the fires that have happened 3 of the last 4 years?

    I’ll leave you with this question:

    After two couch fires and a house fire, what good reason does McDavis have to allow these fests to continue?

  22. My mother is the safety-service director of the city. It is her job during those party weekends to protect the student population from, of all things, themselves! So while students and visitors are beer bonging off roof tops, setting couches on fire and drinking themselves into a coma, my mom and the police team have to stand patrol all night and babysit.

    I’m 24-years-old and have been to several Palmerfests. I like to party just as much as the next person, if not more. But, oer the past three years I’ve watched the party get completely out of control. What dumbfounds me the most is that people try to argue otherwise? Why, then, are houses and couches being set on fire in the middle of the street for no apparent reason? I mean find something to protest about for goodness sake. Don’t just rage so hard that you destroy things. Try that in a big city and the party would definitely be shut down and the crowd would most certainly be tear gassed.

    It’s a pretty big joke that you try to justify the event. Find something else to bitch about. If your mothers saw what my mother sees, they would stop paying your rent and tuition and move you back home.

    This last Palmerfest my mother, who is 5 feet and 120 lbs, got a beer bottle thrown at her head that almost knocked her out. How would you feel if that happened to your mom? Probably not too good. So grow some balls and focus your energy on something more than a whiny letter about your beloved party.

  23. If you don’t support Ohio University and think that it’s a joke, or that it has a terrible reputation that will forever act as a red letter on any application you put forth towards a job, then leave. It’s plain and simple. If you’re worried about how this school will affect your chances of being hired, then why spend your money here? When you pay tuition, room/board, and various other fees, you are essentially buying a product. Why would you buy a product that you deem to be defective? There are thousands of other universities that would be more than happy to take your money and hand you a piece of paper after 2-4 years. If you can’t leave because you have financial issues or because you didn’t get accepted anywhere else, then I suggest you find a job at Burger King working minimum wage. Try to pay for online classes or community college courses. Just get away from Ohio University.

    As to what happened at Palmer, Roddy McD’s email to parents, and Mr. Darrow’s response to it, all I have to say is we are all human. We do make mistakes (ALL of us, at some point or another in our lives), we inform, we overreact, we dramatize, we criticize, we attack, and when provoked, we defend. Were people at Palmer acting like morons? Yes. Screaming, “fuck the police,” and chanting, “USA, USA” doesn’t exactly scream, “I received a quality education and top-notch parenting.” Setting a basement on fire? Also not so intelligent. President McDavis had to say something about it. He sent one email to students and a separate one to parents, which in my opinion is fine. Maybe he should spend more time praising his students in public. Golden rule of HR in communication, “Praise in public, punish in private.” As long as he isn’t releasing statements to the press about how OU students are all a bunch of worthless, renegade hooligans, I (politely) don’t give a shit about what he has to say. Mr. Darrow felt differently. He was clearly aggravated and hurt by the President’s email. As a student at this school and more importantly, as a human being, he has the natural right to have his own opinion on the matter. He chose to voice it. By voicing your opinion, you open yourself up to criticism. Roddy and Mr. Darrow both voiced their opinions, and it’s clear that they both can deal with the criticism dealt to them. If you disagree with them, do so, but do it respectfully (ACTUAL respect).

    Also, please stop criticizing grammar. It makes you look like an uppity gasbag when you start off an argument with, “You did this and this and this wrong, let me throw my nose up in the air and show you why I think you’re a moron and I’m an intellectual grammar-god.” This goes back to the fact that we are human, and we make mistakes. If you can comprehend the meaning of the text, why cry if someone replaced an “e” with an “a”?

    All in my humble opinion. Take it, leave it, shit on it, do whatever you wish with it. Thanks for your time.

    1. I would’ve typed my own opinion but I fear that the people on the MLA, APA and Chicago Style of writing boards that have been reading this would criticize my punctuation and misuse of your instead of you’re.

  24. I only came across this because someone forwarded me the link to Shane’s Goodbye to Hockey (excellent stuff). All I can say on this issue is that as someone a generation older than Shane and who went to school half a country removed from Ohio State, these kinds of issues are present at nearly every institute of higher learning (no pun). Higher Education is a multi-billion dollar industry. It is not unlike professional sports where its success and profit is strongly tied to the affinity one feels for an institution. Sure, there is also the academic mission, but by most metrics, at most of the notable institutions, academia plays at least second (if not third or fourth) fiddle. Using Ohio State for example, the football coach earns about five times that of the university president (if media reports are correct).

    The fact of the matter is what started as a noble academic cause in America has morphed into a sort of mainstream Rumspriga – the Amish rite of passage often marked by partying, getting all the bad judgment out of one’s self before the real world sets in. Risky behavior, being a nuisance on neighbors, these things are as integral to the college environment as is commencement or any other such tradition. The ship on these things sailed long ago and was condoned by nearly every institution in the country because the fact of the matter is happy alumni with good (although slightly fuzzy) memories tend to be generous alumni. Big time football (or insert other sport here) tends to bring big time parties. If Ohio State, for example, truly was worried about the health and safety of students and alumni and the peace and quiet of neighbors, why not ban tailgating at football games? I doubt there is tailgating prior to hockey games, cross country meets, or most other sporting events. So clearly it is not integral to the athletic rigor, right? It certainly has nothing to do with the academics of the university. What it has everything to do with is making people feel good. That’s the business of higher education these days. Universities are a brand, who in turn solicit the dollars of other brands (NBC, Coca Cola, Viagra).

    So university presidents and deans, throughout the year, will occasionally take umbrage with the behavior of a “few bad apples,” and to appease the public (and public image) they will purport to crack down on such behavior. But they are no better than the Vegas casino. They are happy to see you drinking, having a good time, giving them your (and your parents) cash. The moment, you become a pain, they will kick you to the street and let the local PD clean up the mess they created. Don’t fault the cops even if they get a little rough. Can you imagine the circumstance of being outnumbered by a bunch of potentially drunk (how the hell do they know you are one of the sober ones) kids who have spent four (or more years) in an environment conducive to bad judgment?

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