The following message was shared with the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus community on Sept. 25:
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh administration applauds the Oshkosh Common Council’s unanimous objection on Sept. 24 to the planned, Oct. 12 “pub crawl” in the city’s downtown. Over the years, the UW Oshkosh administrators, faculty, staff and student leaders have called upon members of the broader Oshkosh community to encourage businesses that co-sponsor and host this dangerous event centered on binge drinking to end all participation in it. We also encourage the small number of our students who are considering attending, to choose safety and responsibility and not participate. We can and should, once and for all, work together to bring an end to an event that remains a hazard to our downtown and community’s safety, well-being and reputation.
Over the years, the University has repeatedly shared its strong concerns about the pub crawl and the irresponsible and unsafe behavior it encourages. UW Oshkosh has never condoned this event and it is not organized or sponsored by the University or its student groups. UW Oshkosh’s objections have focused on far more than just the safety of our students, as we know this event overtly markets itself to out-of-city guests, many of whom thrive in the dangerous culture it creates, preying upon others.
This event annually raises alarms because it endangers the whole of Oshkosh. Built upon irresponsible misuse of alcohol, the pub crawl is a gateway for risky and predatory decisions and behaviors that lead to sexual assault, violence, physical injury, disorderly conduct and property damage. The costs to Oshkosh are many and immense and cannot merely be measured by tallying a post-weekend arrest log.
UW Oshkosh is proud of the numerous ways the city’s leaders, business owners, nonprofit organizations and citizens have made our downtown a great, nationally-distinct and thriving place. Main Street is a haven for healthy living, as demonstrated by a recent, national website’s praising of our farmers market as one of the best in the country. Reinvestment in businesses and storefronts has triggered a turnaround. Our downtown’s and broader city’s array of events – from Gallery Walk to summertime’s Waterfest series to Dragonboat races – continue to promote our family-and-tourism-friendly reputation and brand as “Wisconsin’s Event City.” While some of these events involve alcohol, their marketing and motives are built upon celebrations of music, culture and recreation, not high-risk alcohol consumption.
We again applaud the Oshkosh Common Council’s objections to the pub crawl and encourage our neighbors, partners and fellow citizens to contact businesses that enable this blight on our safety and reputation and ask them to no longer support and host the pub crawl. This is an event that has no place in Event City.
— University of Wisconsin Oshkosh administration
Clarification: In acknowledging and applauding the Oshkosh Common Council’s publicly-expressed, Sept. 24 concerns regarding the planned, Oct. 12 Oshkosh “pub crawl,” the University administration’s message may have unintentionally characterized the council’s comments and questions as a “unanimous” rejection the event permit. That permit was before the full council for consideration Tuesday evening and was granted. UW Oshkosh applauds the cost and safety concerns and questions city council members raised regarding the event during their meeting — concerns and questions expressed in unanimous, if not near-unanimous, fashion.