Yeah, this will go over just swell at UW-Madison and the thousands of alumni who went there.
Citing increased violence and cost to the city, Madison police are saying the annual Mifflin Street block party “simply cannot continue.”
Reasons for that recommendation are highlighted in a Madison Police Department report, which was posted Wednesday by activist and former City Council member Brenda Konkel on her blog, but not yet released by police as of 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
“The bottom line for the department is if this event does not have a positive benefit for the community, we’re struggling to see how this is a worthwhile event to continue in the future,” Madison Police Department spokesman Howard Payne said Thursday.
This year’s 42nd annual block party in May was marred by a large, drunken crowd and violence including stabbings, sexual assaults, batteries and robberies during and after the event. In addition, three officers were injured.
The block party cost police $130,542, an increase of $42,983 from 2010. Police arrested 162 people during the event and they were charged with 206 different offenses and violations, according to the report.
What to do with the Mifflin Street Block Party has been a topic of discussion since at least when I was in college and would read about what was going on at it in the Badger Herald from my focal point at UW-Eau Claire. At the time, it might have been because a whole bunch of players on the football team were involved in a fight at one of the houses on the block, or busted for underage drinking or something.
Honestly, I forget.
Frankly, trying to talk sense about the Mifflin with any UW alumni about how messed up the party looks to us outsiders is not worth your time. The party has been completely romanticized by those who went there and the growing violence at it has been swept under the rug of an attitude of “We Study Hard at UW, We Deserve to Party Hard at UW” mentality.
In my book, no where does stabbings and sexual assaults at the event constitute anything close to “partying hard.” (That’s just me, but I could just be getting old.)
Is anything going to change at the Mifflin? Unlikely. Paul Soglin’s back in the mayor’s office, was at the first couple block party’s himself, and he’ll probably tell you things were “much worse in his day.”
So, despite police warnings, despite concerns in the neighborhood, the Mifflin Street Block Party will probably continue unabated and we’ll be reading articles about people trying to shut it down for the foreseeable future.
Until someone gets killed at it of course…that might finally change things.