Another party, another fight: a solution to fights at black events

Fights are a common occurrence everywhere on campus. Whether it’s at a bar, fraternity or apartment party, drunken young males engage in violent actions, in their attempts to prove they are “tougher” than the other guys.

For the black student community on campus, when black parties are shut down, the consequences are a little more severe. Some black students feel there aren’t any places on campus where they can go to have a good time.

What they mean by this is that, though they are legally allowed to enter any facility on campus, the atmosphere of those places are not inviting; the place doesn’t play the music they like, the other people may do culturally inappropriate things, etc. Additionally, when fights or disturbances break out at black events, it gives the whole black student body a bad name. A prime example of this is a fight that broke out during a “Cotton Club” after-party that was held at the Campus Recreation Center East.

Before I begin, let me reiterate by saying that fights happen everywhere. Every weekend there is at least one fight that breaks out at one of the main campus bars. I have seen fights involving every race (Asian, black, white, Latino, etc.) at almost every bar. It is for this reason, I must criticize The Daily Illini for only reporting on the negative happenings of the event.

“Cotton Club” is a weekend-long event that raises money for numerous causes and was, overall, a big success. It is a bit discouraging to read an article that negates all the good to focus only on the bad. The front-page article could have been written about any other number of other parties (bars, fraternities, etc.) that were recently held and shut down for fighting. Most nonblack students have never heard of “Cotton Club” weekend, and when they do read about it, they are reading about a fight.

To continue, I must say there are a few trends I have noticed when black events are shut down because of fighting. It almost always involves people who are not University of Illinois students. Such is the case for the Cotton Club incident. The solution I propose will only address how to marginalize the number of fights that break out at black events and probably is not applicable to stopping fights at other venues. At the same time, I must admit that this plan may not be 100 percent successful, but to quote President Obama, “no plan is perfect.”

The first step to my plan is to make it very difficult for nonUniversity students to attend our events. We can substantially increase admission price for all nonUniversity students and require them to have a sponsor, one sponsor per student. To make it even harder, a rule could be implemented that would only allow Big Ten and Chicago private school’s (UIC, Depaul, Loyola, U of C, Northwestern) students to be allowed to be sponsored. The reasoning behind this is that college students have worked too hard to risk their future on petty things. They wouldn’t risk losing everything they have worked for because someone stepped on their Nikes.

That brings me to the next part of my plan: a dress code for some black events. A simple dress code could be implemented for popular black events and could include not being allowed to wear Timberland boots, white-sneakers and extremely baggy clothing.

Similar dress codes have been enforced at many bars and clubs in downtown Chicago. It’s a common misconception that all black people dress like “thugs,” let’s not forget that even Sean John makes suits.

Many black students here at the University have a plethora of different styles, from wearing Ralph Lauren polos, to designer button-down shirts and even the occasional trendy Obama T-shirt. People will be less willing to mess-up their nice clothes, and its hard to fight in a pair of Steve Maddens.

Any combination of these rules could be implemented and enforced. Hopefully, the plan devised will minimize the chances of a fight breaking out and hopefully The Daily Illini will cover that events success.

Paul is a senior in computer and political science and didn’t attend Cotton Club this year.