OSU Student Leaders Search For New Tradition Following Student Death At Mirror Lake

Dec 7, 2015

The Ohio State student government body voted last week to support the ban on the annual Mirror Lake jump by students before the Michigan game.  It came after the death of 22 year old Austin Singletary of Dayton who broke his neck during this year's jump.

The below transcript is an automated transcript of the above conversation. Please excuse minor typos and errors.

Debbie Holmes: With me to talk about the support of the ban is Abby Grossman president of Ohio State's undergraduate student government. Thanks for joining me this morning.

Abby Grossman: Of course.

DH: Now your group decided by a 35 to six vote to support the ban on the Mirror Lake jump. Why?

AG: We cannot engage in a tradition that puts Buckeyes' lives at risk.

DH: Well, what are students attitudes toward the jump then. Because I don't think the students were saying I'm risking my life here is that the way you felt?

AG: Absolutely not and I know that knew it was dangerous for the most part, but the positive aspect of the Mirror Lake jump mostly had to do with the camaraderie and the community that everyone felt at the lake on that evening. Which is the Buckeye community coming together in a rivalry against Michigan and during Beat Michigan Week. Unfortunately the way that the Mirror Lake evolved over the last 25 years has gotten more and more dangerous every since year.

DH: Well how so?

AG: Mostly the students who have been at the Mirror Lake jump and those who have witnessed the Mirror Lake jump, have seen that over the years even just in the past few years the attitudes at Mirror Lake and behavior that we see at Mirror Lake on that evening are not reflective of what it means to be a Buckeye and what it means to celebrate the Buckeye community during the Beat Michigan Week.

There are incidences of sexual harassment at the lake to males and females and also there are very intoxicated students at that jump, and the attitudes and the mindset that people often have at the jump is that I need to get intoxicated in order to jump in this freezing cold lake and that is not something that we could be promoting as a university and encouraging as a university.

DH: Now have you ever jumped into Mirror Lake?

AG: I have.

DH: And why did you do it?

AG: I did it because I thought it would be fun. Just like I think most students jumped into like because they thought it would be fun and it was fun. I would not, personally feel like that fun I would have for one night is worth risking another Buckeye's life.

DH: Now do you think this decision then to support the ban. Will this make the jump more enticing to some students?

AG: I'm sure we will have students like that and I think that the vote is very representative of the students opinions right now. While a vast majority of students are in support of the cancelation of the jump and understand the importance of the safety of our students. There are there are a portion of the student body feel that they have every single right to jump in that lake they want.

DH: So what do you think can happen then, Make the lake more shallow? How about draining at the week of the Michigan game?

AG: To be honest in conversations that I have been, the conversations have not quite begun to make any concrete decisions on what next year's prevention of the jump will look like. We can create a tradition that brings that same camaraderie and that same community to Ohio State and to the Ohio State students during the Beat Michigan week, that isn't risking both Buckeyes' lives and students' lives.

DH: All right well thanks so much for talking with me this morning. That's Ohio State student government president Abby Grossman. AG: Thank you.