Two years ago, I wrote a satirical column about moving our University’s homecoming to Madison during Halloween weekend. I sarcastically suggested that we teach Wisconsin a thing or two about rioting, considering the crazy hockey riots Minnesota hosted at the time and the weak rioting Madison experienced the year before.
When large-scale Halloween rioting broke out in Madison that year (2003), my column became the scapegoat for the unusually high number of University student arrests. I was immediately contacted by all types of important people, from a local news anchor to a Wisconsin radio personality to an angry University of Minnesota dean. Obviously, I learned an important lesson: Some people don’t know how to recognize sarcasm in writing unless you warn them.
More important than this, however, was the realization that I set an example when I write for the Daily, sarcasm or not. This is why I’ve taken it upon myself to discourage Minnesotan students from rioting in Madison this year. Check out that title – I’ve voluntarily become the U’s goodwill representative!
Rioting may seem fun to all of you, and God knows it must feel good to hurl beer bottles through second-story windows on State Street while chanting “The Minnesota Rouser,” but we must remember to stay calm and submissive this weekend. Yes, I know our football team’s heartbreaking loss to Wisconsin was infuriating. I know a lot of us have friends living in Madison who rub that loss in our faces and say things like, “I bet you wished you would’ve gone to our college, eh?” But this is no reason to put on anonymous costumes, get drunk and overturn Madison residents’ cars. You may be able to get away with all the mayhem, but you might just tarnish the reputation of our glorious school.
A school, I might add regrettably, that you’ll have absolutely no contact with in a few years from now. In fact, if you’re a General College student, you might as well go out with a bang in Madison since the Board of Regents decided to close your program. Hmm Ö
All right, so there are no consequences for rioting in another state. Big deal. This still doesn’t justify getting trashed and tossing mounted police officers from their steeds near Madison’s Capitol building. (Boy, that actually sounds like a lot of fun – but for goodness’ sake do NOT try this. Without me.) Keep in mind also that the Madison campus is not going to be very welcoming of out-of-state visitors this Halloween. So ignore the wild, uninhibited fun and stay away. Far away. I heard University of Wisconsin residence halls disallowed their residents from sheltering out-of-towners. They’ve even given brightly colored wristbands to their tenants, denying residence hall access to those without. And those flimsy wristbands are completely impossible to duplicate! You’d need to somehow get a hold of construction paper and Scotch tape – all the more reason NOT to stay with friends in Madison’s dorms.
Rioting in Madison is NOT the epitome of the University of Minnesota college experience. It does NOT make for a great time, amazing stories and memorable experiences. It will NOT give you bragging rights. And finally, Halloween rioting will NOT be hilarious when you later see your pirate-costumed likeness on TV, pulling down a police officer’s trousers and stealing his nightstick.
Please, do NOT riot in Madison.
Mat Koehler welcomes comments at [email protected]