We messed with Texas.
The stars (like Geno Smith and Andrew Buie) were big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.
WVU brought the “real” Austin with them to Texas.
And there are a whole lot of funny ways to describe West Virginia University’s win over the Texas Longhorns on Saturday night.
But the response of students to the first major Big 12 victory in downtown Morgantown in the early-morning hours of Sunday were anything but funny. Following the narrow victory, there were fires, mobs, property destruction, interference with emergency responders and law enforcement officials.
It isn’t celebrating. It is partying.
It isn’t a rite of passage for students of the No. 1 party school. It is a crime.
It isn’t good-spirited fun. It is dangerous, destructive and disappointing.
It isn’t something to be proud of. It’s an embarrassment to the institution, the city of Morgantown and West Virginia as a whole.
And it has to stop.
Dozens of fires, set in garbage cans and furniture dragged into streets, were bad enough. But when crews arrived on scene, they were met with aggressive crowds of up to 1,000 people who threw debris, rocks and even lit firecrackers at firefighters. Only five were arrested — four were WVU students and the administration has vowed swift justice up to and including expulsion in addition to the criminal charges they face.
“The worst of the post-game behavior Saturday night was completely unacceptable, dangerous and inexcusable,” WVU President Jim Clements said in a release. “We cannot and will not tolerate it. These actions are dangerous. And they diminish the successes of our students, faculty, staff and alumni.”
City and school officials are meeting this week to discuss how to handle other upcoming games, including the Oct. 20 matchup with Kansas State at Mountaineer Field. “Twice as much tear gas” is one of the suggestions made by law enforcement officials to local media.
Really? Has it come this far? Can college students not control themselves to keep celebrations positive? Has the mob mentality robbed these students of their senses? Will it take a house burning down somewhere outside of Sunnyside because crews are having to deal with violent crowds preventing them from doing their jobs? Will it take a serious injury to an emergency responder? Will it take someone sustaining serious injuries or dying during these “celebrations” before it stops?
Morgantown Mayor Jim Manilla has suggested a $20-per-semester fee for each WVU student, collecting $1.2 million per year to hire extra city firefighters and police officers. There are two points we’d like to make. That’s like buying extra Band-Aids when a wound needs stitches. And there were about 1,000 students in Sunnyside on Saturday night — representing 3 percent of the student body of WVU. Is it really necessary to fiscally punish everyone to pay for the misbehavior of a few?
We think the hard-line approach from the university is the only thing that will stop these dangerous post-game mobs from causing any more damage to the city, its employees and the reputation of our state. When WVU students commit a crime, they need to face expulsion, jail time, fines, eviction from housing and loss of athletic privileges. That’s not “making an example” out of people. Those are realistic consequences when adults break the law.
And if these students see their friends, roommates and classmates lose scholarships, housing or the right to call themselves a WVU student, perhaps that will keep the ridiculous behavior in Sunnyside at bay.
We know exactly how thrilling this season is turning out for Mountaineer fans across the country. But as head coach Dana Holgorsen said, “If (Saturday’s incidents) had anything to do with some sort of ‘special’ win, then I would encourage everybody to get used to wins like that.”
We messed with Texas.
COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay
Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.
The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings
During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.
Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated
Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
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