ESU reacts to Barstool’s return

BY VICTORIA KRUKENKAMP

Managing Editor

The Barstool tour will return to the Sherman Theater on March 1, 2014, despite the tour’s controversial appearance last fall that resulted in 8 young adults being treated for MDMA, “Molly,” overdoses at Pocono Medical Center.

Due to its proximity, the Sherman Theater is often associated with ESU.

“We had been working together closely on events from the past,” said Doreen Tobin, Vice-President for Student Affairs.

Tobin explained the strain that the Barstool event has put on that relationship.

“They were actually selling T-shirts with the ESU logo on it and we asked them to take that down,” said Tobin.

This strain is a shame because, “there are a lot of great opportunities for students there,” said Tobin.

2013 Homecoming King Kevin Skilton won’t be attending the event.

“I refuse to go to Barstool,” said Skilton. “I believe it is immature and a waste of money that caters to a culture of underage drinking and reckless drug use.”

After an appearance last spring, Barstool ranked ESU the number one “most underrated party school.”

“I can honestly say that since Barstool named East Stroudsburg the #1 underrated party school, the culture of ESU has gone downhill.  It is as if the students take pride in this disgraceful title and feel obligated to live up to the name that Barstool has given our school,” said Skilton.

Barstool is a Boston based company that hosts dance “raves” that are fueled by electronic dance music.  Barstool totes its shows, which tour all across the country, as ones for dancing, not drinking.

The electronic dance music culture’s drug of choice, “Molly,”  is thought of as a pure form of MDMA as opposed to Ecstasy, which is typically laced with any other kind of substance.  “Molly,” according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is the powder or crystal form of MDMA, which is known for its use in Ecstasy.

After the overdoses associated with the last appearance of Barstool at the Sherman Theater, the ESU administration had two meetings with the Sherman to “try to confront the issue,” said Tobin.

“We needed to express not only our concern about the safety of the event, but also the effect on the community,” said Tobin.

Robin Olson, ESU’s Chief of Police explained that while ESU made suggestions to the Sherman about the Barstool event, it is ultimately out of ESU’s control.

“We have let our feelings be known,” continued Tobin.

Following the MDMA overdoses last fall, the Sherman outlined its drug and alcohol policies in a press release, as well as emphasized the extra security and police that they utilized during events like Barstool.  These policies remain in place.

Yet, the campus is a different place on the night of Barstool.

“We see different things happen when Barstool is going on as opposed to a regular Friday or Saturday night,” said Tobin.

This change is cause for University Police to prepare for the night.

“We prepared in having additional staffing,” said Olson.  “We work closely with regional police.”

Olson explained that during the last appearance of Barstool, ESU police were called in to assist Stroud Regional Police.

“When we learned that the show was going to occur again, I personally made a lot of suggestions to make the show safer,” said Olson, but he still thinks the show is a gamble.  Olson emphasized that, beyond ESU, there is a lot of community interest to end the appearances of Barstool.

Communications Major Ashley Smith worked as a public relations representative for the Main St. bar Jack and Jill’s during previous Barstool events, and found the customer base of the bar changed at those times.

“When Barstool came I made money—so it helped our business—but the type of customer was not desirable,” said Smith.  “On Barstool night we collected more fake IDs than any other night.”

Tobin explained that she doesn’t expect that students will boycott the event, but that students who do go can make good decisions and uphold the expected conduct of an ESU student.

“We do, in fact, hold students responsible for their conduct on and off campus,” said Tobin in reference to a student handbook policy. If a student is cited by the police the university has the right to take action against them.

“We do go through and cite them,” said Tobin

“You can still go and make the right choices,” said Tobin.

Student Senate President Justin Amann encourages students that plan to attend the upcoming event to do so safely.

“The Barstool Blackout tour promotes irresponsible behavior that is not consistent with the expectations of an ESU student,” said Amann.  “The prevalence of drugs is troublesome and I would encourage all students to be safe and smart.  I hope that students take tremendous caution if they plan to attend the barstool event.”

Email Victoria at:

Vkrukenkam@live.esu.edu

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