You would think that, when Ohio University is mentioned in the national media, it would include feats like the upset of Georgetown in last season's NCAA tournament, or that it produced the likes of Matt Lauer.
But usually, if it makes national headlines at all, it's for the reputation it has as one of the top "party schools" in the nation. By the way, that's also how it often is portrayed in the media in Ohio outside of Athens.
Just this past week, a video of the team "bobcat" mascot tackling Ohio State's "Brutus Buckeye" mascot became a hit on You Tube. (By the way, based on how that football game turned out, it appears that's the only tackling O.U. did all day.)
But leave it to someone from Athens to at least attempt to set the record straight.
It was a woman who sent a letter to the editor of the Columbus Dispatch, which appeared in Sunday's paper. She noted that O.U. students were among those who volunteered to take part in the cleanup after the September 16th tornadoes which caused serious damage to Athens and surrounding communities.
"Too often, all we ever read about in the paper and hear on the news is how Ohio University is the top party school, how many arrests were made at the annual Halloween Party (which, by the way, is not an O.U.-sponsored event) and what damage was done during all of the spring festivals," in the words of writer Lorraine Krumel.
"The response from these students is a shining beacon as to what O.U. is really all about and shows that the students do care about much more than just partying."
Krumel is correct. I don't know how I survived four years of school at O.U. since I drank alcohol (mainly beer) moderately at the most, didn't get rowdy, and never--I repeat, never--used illegal drugs.
I don't know if Ms. Krumel sent the same letter to the Athens media, or sent it beyond Columbus. But she deserves credit for, at least partly, setting the record straight. In fact, it's something to celebrate. Sensibly, of course.
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