It’s not too often I find myself waking up before10 a.m. but Saturday I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and made the trek to campus with my lawn chair in one hand and an Elmore Leonard novel in the other; a book I planned on reading while I waited in line to get my ticket for the CU/CSU football game next weekend. But the way the events played out that day, neither the book nor the lawn chair got much use.
Two lines formed outside the Lory Student Center; one in front of the main Plaza doors and one behind along the disc golf course. Tired and sleepily-eyed students lined up to get placeholder tickets talking about the school year’s first weekend of parties and how much CSU was destined to beat those Boulder players.
As 7 a.m. approached, the line outside the Plaza doors began to stretch as far as the library and as everyone was preparing to start a day of waiting under the August sun to get their tickets to the most hyped Mountain Showdown game ever. But as 7 a.m. came along, the line that formed by students themselves dismantled and became an out-of-control mob.
The way it was suppose to work was organizers of the event would hand out placeholder tickets at 7 a.m. and then hand out actual game tickets at 3 p.m. Students with placeholder tickets would be allowed to shortly step out of line but be able to come back. What happened was at 7, a volunteer stepped out holding a sign reading “Line starts here” and shouted out to two thousand students to reform a line in front of the doors. In a mad and panic rush, students ran towards the door instead of simply moving the already formed line forwards.
The scene of Saturday morning changed drastically; at one moment students were peacefully and calmly in a line they formed themselves and then the next moment students found themselves piled against each other in a mob formed by the organizers of the events who were unprepared for the crowd.
Groups were broken up; students were pushing against each other trying to find out what the heck just happened. I was caught up in the mad rush and for 20 minutes students did not know what was happening. No announcements were made; there was not one person from crowd control visible, no one knew what was happening in front.
Eventually students were slowly being allowed in the student center one at a time to receive a placeholder ticket. When my group was allowed to go in, I literally had to push fellow students out of the way just to get through.
I’m sure the volunteers could not have foreseen students reacting that way and the blame shouldn’t be entirely on them (the students in line could have reacted a little bit more rationally) but you don’t go out and try to reorganize two thousand people without some kind of crowd control presence. It was not the best way to start of the school year and I hope new students don’t get a bad first impression of traditions at CSU.
Associated Students of CSU, Association for Student Activity Planning and other organizers of Saturday owe the student body a formal apology for putting those students’ safety at risk and students should demand that apology. They are lucky no students were harmed in those moments.
On a lighter note, The Collegian is preparing a new way for students to give campus leaders feedback on important issues. In collaboration with ASCSU, The Collegian is putting a weekly opinion poll on its Web site, www.collegian.com. Students can also find the poll at www.ASCSU.colostate.edu. Results from the poll will be published on page 4 of The Collegian on Mondays. The goal of the poll is for the newspaper and the student government to get a better understanding of the opinions of CSU students and we hope students will participate in this new venture.
Our Web site also gives students the opportunity to write feedback to articles and opinion columns on the site by clicking on the feedback icon at the end of each article and column.
As a reminder, students can still e-mail and write letters to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org and Opinion Editor, Lory Student Center Box 13, Fort Collins, CO 80523.