Letter to the Editor: Incident raises questions about game day practices

Alcohol-related incidents on campus have been in the news a lot lately. As a beer drinker, I used to think that the idea of eliminating the long-time tradition of tailgate and keg parties from campus was absurd - now I'm not so sure. As I was leaving the Baylor game, I heard someone behind me say, "Hey, nice bike." I turned around to say thanks (after all, I do ride a "specialized stump jumper" and it is a nice bike) when this total stranger looked me right in the eye and then added, "nice pink bike, you ... faggot." I replied, "Nice attitude."

Apparently, this obviously intoxicated individual was disgruntled. Maybe he was mad because he did not have any reason to ridicule the Baylor fans. Who knows? Regardless, he was not ready to quit. I just shook my head and kept walking.

While we were in the tunnel exiting the stadium, he decided to throw me up against the wall and challenge me to a fight. Outraged, I told him that I intended to summon the nearest police officer and have him arrested. Apparently, this was not the best thing to say, because at this point his friends decided to join in. Of course, immediately following a winning home game is not the best time in which to find a readily available police officer (some of them were most likely guarding the only remaining goal post). I continued down the street in their direction, enduring the constant elementary school playground-style ridicule and occasional threats and pushes, still hoping to happen across a police officer.

We ended up at one of the campus fraternity houses, where, it turns out, most of these boys reside. I was told after the fact, however, that the man that started this whole thing is not a resident but indeed an alumna. Pausing briefly at the sidewalk, I realized I would have a better chance at getting the cops to show up if I followed them to their back deck, where approximately 20 people were hanging out.

They of course immediately asked me to leave, and I told them I would as soon as the police arrived. My mentality this whole time was to keep them in sight until I could locate an officer, so I could press assault charges on them. What I began to realize in the parking lot was not only was I guilty of trespassing, but I didn't have any witnesses to my allegations, and I was severely outnumbered. The fact that I was right and they were wrong didn't matter anymore. It was my word against theirs, I didn't have any injuries, and I sincerely doubted anyone on that back deck would have defended me. It was a pretty hopeless feeling to have, especially since I knew in my heart that I was in the right.

An older member of the fraternity attempted to resolve the situation by instructing the boys to "act like good brothers" and leave me alone. True, I was on their property, but with a reasonable request: justice. To no avail. One individual could not control the situation, and most of the boys that came off the porch to push or yell at me reeked of alcohol, so it was no wonder peaceful resolution at this point was impossible.

At one point, I lost my temper and screamed at them to call the cops and to keep their hands off me. Of course, this did not help matters. Finally, a girl said, "Why don't you leave?" and I told her why. Then she said, "Couldn't you wait out by the curb?" That was the best idea I had heard all day. Why didn't I think of that?

All told, the cops never came. I was "assaulted" by five different individuals. However, no injuries were incurred. I was called countless names, pushed into bushes, threatened and dragged out of the parking lot. No one has the right to put another person in fear, either by direct contact (battery) or verbal intimidation (assault). Those found guilty of third-degree assault in Boone County can be convicted, facing fines up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment up to one year. Yes, even for calling someone a name.

Hate crimes are punishable in Boone County under similar laws. People should have respect for others regardless of their origin, color, or orientation.

It is sad to think that such crimes against humanity are tolerated in the least bit. I would hate to think of the impression that outsiders would get when visiting MU if they are subjected to similar circumstances. I hope people will soon begin to realize we're really all on the same team.

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