In an effort to deter students from attending this year’s Mifflin Street Block Party, UW-Madison’s YouTube page released a video Monday of the dean of students describing repercussions of attending the event and repeatedly telling students “don’t go.”
Dean of Students Lori Berquam said many people are choosing not to attend Mifflin this year because it is becoming increasingly dangerous.
“My advice to you about attending the event is this: don’t go,” she Berquam said. “That event encourages really smart people to do stupid things.”
One example of these “stupid things,” Berquam said, is a Mifflin T-shirt design that merges Cinco de Mayo with the party. She called the shirt offensive and hurtful to many people on campus and in the Madison community.
Still, video commenters on YouTube and Reddit.com, as well as students sharing the video on Facebook, said they do not think Berquam’s efforts will be successful. Reddit commenter “zylphite” said the administration and city officials can try to get rid of the event, but “over three decades of precedent doesn’t just go away because you want it to.”
“Has the party changed drastically since its origin? Undeniably.” the commenter said. “Are kids going to head over there and get drunk for an afternoon once a year? Without question, whether or not they have the city/school’s approval to do so.”
Other YouTube commenters criticized Berquam for her delivery of the speech, which they said was awkward and filled stutters and pauses.
Berquam also advised students who do attend the party to go with a group of people whom they trust, comply with law enforcement’s rules, to be culturally respectful and not to take a beverage from a stranger.
UPDATE: The YouTube video has been removed by the user.