Members of the staff of the Collegian have attended Mr./Ms. Bronco for the past three years as observers. This year, we noted the atmosphere of this campus-wide event was far from welcoming to the few prospective students and their families present in the audience.
The atmosphere was also actively hostile toward the student leaders representing their organizations on stage, as well as SAA staff and emcee Nick Hoff. Hoff also emceed last year, but had to adjust his routine to request respect and attention from disruptive audience members in the balcony of the Chapel.
Our interpretation as a staff was that unlike the years past where the content of acts presented were offensive to some attendees, this year, the audience was far more offensive than any of the references to sex and alcohol. We are college students, so college humor is expected, but it should never be accepted that students can show blatant disrespect to fellow students at a school-sponsored event.
Mr./Ms. Bronco in its current interpretation is almost completely separate from other school events. The event is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, that as it continues to be seen in terms of alcohol, it will continue to be executed with alcohol.
Mr./Ms. Bronco can also be seen as a liability to student safety. Because the lower height of the balcony railing is meant for seated worshippers and not leaning students, with the level of drunkeness and rowdiness that continues to rule Mr./Ms. Bronco, there is the likelihood of a serious accident, as well as an accompanying lawsuit.
Although the environment of the event is notoriously rowdy and entertaining, a general attitude of respect and decency should be exhibited by all audience members.
The issue with Mr./Ms. Bronco of the student population, so where half of students want to attend, the other half is driven away. The students who do attend desire a fun campus event, a drunken free-for-all or a night of entertainment.
Many others stay away, predicting a rowdy and disrespectful audience, jeering at and egging on their peers who put on a show contrasting with the acts on the stage.
However, we would also like to acknowledge those in the audience who were respectful, knew their limits and still had a good time. Many students attended the event to support friends, listen to Hoff’s witty repartee and support the panel of campus-celebrity judges. To those who came, saw and remained respectful, we commend you-and encourage you to extend your attitude to some of your classmates.
If the current standards for audience participation continue, we are setting the bar far lower than our campus as a whole deserves for one of the most anticipated events of the spring semester. This is an issue that must be addressed by students before administration decides for us.
We don’t mean to condemn Mr./Ms. Bronco or to infer that the event should be scrapped, but rather, that the attitude with which we view it and other campus events should adjust.
It is entirely possible to have fun in a college-themed environment while maintaining an attitude of respect and an atmosphere of safety.
We recognize that alcohol use will always be present. However, this is a matter of balance and sensibility, instead of deciding between two equally undesirable options: prohibition and debauchery.