"A weekend of frightening scenes at college football games is forcing university presidents and the NCAA to try to find ways to stop violence on college campuses."
-- December 6, 2002, Associated Press
"New tactics are being tried this year in hopes of preventing University of Colorado students from rioting after the Buffaloes take on Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship football game Saturday in Houston...Free food and sodas will be provided at [four] parties around campus."
-- December 5, 2002, Rocky Mountain News
TO: All Interested Parties
FROM: Office of the President
As you know, we here at CU have been concerned with so-called student rioting for a number of years now. I think we all realize that, while our students may have had legitimate, empowering reasons for violent, property-damaging protests in the past (the crackdown on underage drinking a few years back was quite abrupt, and it is exhilarating to emerge victorious in important gridiron contests), most of us can agree that, as a long-term policy, vandalism serves little official purpose.
I want to thank each of you who has responded so far to our request for ideas to put a halt to these unfortunate media events. As always, all ideas will be taken into account when we formulate our official response to the issue, perhaps sometime next year or in 2004. Following are summations of the suggestions we have received. In the meantime, keep the great concepts coming! Once again, I am reminded that here at CU, we really do have "minds to match our mountains" (registered trademark).
1. Our thanks to the Phi Delta Theta and Kappa Sigma fraternities, as well as the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, for their joint offer to host an off-campus "adult-beverage" get-together for anyone who wants to come and "party" instead of busting up the downtown area following a football game. I think I speak for the entire administration when I say that we'd certainly be willing to revisit any past suspensions of these community-minded "brotherhoods and sisterhoods."
2. A big "Well done!" to the medical school staff for taking time out of their busy schedules to help us tackle the problem. I'm sure their helpful offer to dismiss the school's next chairman (as soon as he or she is named) in exchange for a peaceful evening will prove inspirational to any hooligan thinking of flipping over a van. I know I might reconsider if I knew that the respected head of a department could just vanish without explanation!
3. The med school has been working overtime! Thanks to them, too, for the staff's gutsy and thoughtful recommendation to get a handle on out-of-control students by entering the entire freshman and sophomore classes in unsupervised clinical trials. (That ought to get everyone's attention!) I'm sure the FDA has more important issues to attend to than watching over a big university that often ranks in the top 100, so let's everyone keep this one under our hats.
4. What with his tireless efforts to keep recruits from leaving his team, I can't tell you how thrilled we are to have heard from men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton! We certainly will take his no doubt heartfelt suggestion for an official, attendance-mandatory center-court prayer session for the vandals' damned souls into serious consideration. Keep doing the Lord's work Ricardo, and God bless! Here's hoping the coach doesn't take it personally if no one pays attention to him. (Kidding, Ricardo! We'll be there.)
5. An unexpected and creative proposal from CU Regent Jim Martin! It never occurred to us to permit every student to claim any old major on his or her resumé no matter what courses he or she has taken! That ought to make any potential arsonist think twice about striking a match. Thanks to Mr. Martin again for his additional advice to permit potential vandals to customize their class rankings in exchange for putting down that rock. The prospect of being "tops" in one's class despite one's actual grades ought to deter many otherwise lawless thugs. Career services, are you listening to our customers?
6. A hearty "nice job" to various maintenance and housekeeping staff for their idea to provide peepholes into women's shower stalls for any angry young man thinking of heaving a beer bottle at Boulder's finest instead of recycling it. This "touch-free" diversion should provide a powerful incentive to any healthy letterman to behave in a lawful manner. (Interested women should apply to administration for food vouchers to compensate them for their help in keeping order on campus. A big shoulder-squeeze of gratitude to them for doing their part to be "CU's citizen peace officers.")
7. An interesting and unexpected proposal from the Princeton Review. Certainly a "study-free semester" for the entire student body to relieve stress is an approach we hadn't thought of. But we're nothing if not open-minded. After all, "here at CU, it's whatever works!" (trademark pending).
8. Another unique recommendation from the hardest-working medical school in the entire state! Thanks to all the anatomy students who wrote in offering to dissect an extra live pet "if it will save just one car windshield." We're all for it, too, if it will keep order. Keep cutting, guys!
9. Here in the president's office, we don't like to "toot our own horn." But I would be remiss if I didn't mention a very qualified acquaintance of mine who may or may not be able to assist me in finding a workable solution for peaceably assembled drunk students transforming themselves into a violent mob intent on committing misdemeanors. I'm willing to budget $140,000 for this professional hire. Did I mention that she is very qualified?
10. It sure was nice to hear from Gary Barnett. We feel the football coach is "right on" in his neat idea of offering scholarships to qualified young pre-vandals in exchange for a mediocre but conviction-free performance while they attend CU. Coach B is not offering to release any of his personal $8 million compensation package for this great law-abiding incentive, but why should he?! Division runners-up and the extremely exciting Alamo Bowl speak for themselves. Go, Buffs!
11. Wow! That's what we say to the entire Athletic Department for its daring plan to throw a big off-campus bash in the hopes of convincing guys who might be planning to break a window in a retail establishment to study instead. Our best minds at Legal will have to examine the finer points of the school providing "only-slightly-less-than-legal-age" girls willing to escort anyone thinking of signing a letter of commitment to keep the peace. (Everyone also agrees it would be nice if the gals came without their own legal representation.) But these are minor points! And thanks to the entire Buffs freshmen football recruits for offering to undertake this big challenge. We're sure you can do it!
12. Kudos to the entire Board of Regents for keeping an eye on the "big picture." I say why not build brand-new campuses to the south, north, and east of the city, as well as a new athletic field across the Mall if new facilities could turn a few "bad seeds" into better students? (Note: I also concur with Legal that city officials do not need to be consulted on this. County records show we own the property.)
13. Finally, we again are grateful to Coach Barnett and all the ready-to-help Buffs for their straightforward offer to simply "lose all the big games that really matter." That certainly ought to take the wind out of any potential rioter's sails. We all know how hard it is to contribute meaningfully to a mob when you're really sad.
So, thanks once more to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to submit ideas. It's important that the public knows we are working hard and doing all we can to keep Boulder "Riot-Free in '03" (trademark rejected). Perhaps some of our regularly published scholars in Sociology can someday help us understand where kids these days get the idea that it's okay to behave so badly.
Keep thinking deep thoughts!
Elizabeth "Liz" Hoffman
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.