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Fights only perpetuate our 'party school' reputation


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Liz Coffee

Liz Coffee

Fights happen, but when the mob is so big that police can’t protect people, something is seriously wrong.

Just after midnight on Aug. 24, the Chico Police Department responded to a party that had grown out of control on the 600 block of Ivy Street.

When officers moved in to control the scene, the crowd spilled into the street. After they tried to disperse the crowd, party-goers began throwing bottles, causing officers to regroup and wait for assistance.

This mob formed the weekend before school started, a turbulent period that typically has the Chico Police Department scrambling up and down Ivy Street quelling fights.

What has it come to when a series of drunken brawls in our streets is business as usual for our police department? Do other college towns in America resign themselves a few bloody dust-ups before an early breakfast?

This horrendous behavior feeds into our reputation for alcohol-fueled violence that began with Pioneer Days, a weeklong celebration that’s now a distant memory. That was more than two decades ago, but this appears to be a reputation that we cannot shake off because of these incidents.

A coalition of leaders throughout Chico are doing what they can to reinvent Chico’s image and change the face of the university, but their efforts are for naught if students don’t change their behavior.

The Glenn County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance Apr. 17 preventing alcohol along the Sacramento River during the Labor Day Float.

And more than 15 Downtown Chico businesses and bars have banded together for the Respect Chico campaign.

But these efforts will not be effective if students don’t take advantage of them. Almost no one showed up to see a highly-touted electronic band from The Netherlands for WREC Remix, an event on Saturday that was supposed to be an alternative to the typical night of drunken escapades. Instead, they were walking around outside or at the bars.

Incoming freshmen and transfer students may have a poor reputation of our school because of the fights happening in Downtown Chico. And a recent study said more and more incoming freshman are predisposed to binge drinking.

To turn this reputation around, we have to be willing to change our behavior. We’re all here to get a degree, not a concussion.

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Fights only perpetuate our 'party school' reputation