The Grove and the Circle deserve not to be trampled

Published 12:00 pm Monday, July 11, 2016

In this open letter, I’d like to let you know that I am not all that alone in my dismay with what has been happening on the Grove and the Circle during every football games here at the University of Mississippi. However the result of the football season for wins and losses, one result will be absolutely certain. Not a blade of grass will survive the few thousands of people per acres trampling and stampeding on the Grove and the Circle, which occurs while the “Tailgating on the Grove and the Circle.”

This year, with five straight weekends, from early Friday’s afternoon starting with all the placement of the hundreds of red and blue trashcans, and the setting up of the portable potty with dozen of the flatbed  four wheelers and “golf carts” scurrying all over the 6 acres of the Grove and the ground of the Circle. Then the placement, not of blankets for picnics but heavy duty tents and canopy, along with tables for the coolers, cookers, container of ices and food and beverages and other assorted equipment, throughout the Grove and the Circle.

From the first football games here at the University of Mississippi in August or very early September, most certainly by middle of October, just about every blade of grasses will be about gone in the Grove and the Circle. From Late October or early November, perhaps hundreds of men and women worked many hours which many vehicles and grasses seeding and ground leveling work being done. Still, the Grove and the Circle remain a muddy eyesore, somewhat unpleasant odors and then a number of times, cut has have been placed all over the Grove and Circle to cover the bare spot.

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This beautiful landmark of the Grove and the Circle then take until early March or even early April to regain the grass covered beauty. I do not object to the usage of the Grove and the Circle. When the thousands of seatings for graduation ceremony occurs, usually by the Tuesday after the Graduation ceremony, The Grove and the Circle look the same as the Thursday before the Graduation Ceremony. Yes, one can still appreciate the tranquil beauty and not even notice that the Grove and the Circle have been use. Also, the Double Decker event seemed to have very limited adverse effect on the Grove and the Circle.

Other times, the Grove and the Circle have been use and the condition the same as before.

Not so for the Tailgating on the Grove. Chancellor Vitter, perhaps this following passage from the “M” Book, a book that state the policy and creed of this University, would be most useful in considering what to do. “I believe in good stewardship of our resources, DSA, SC, 200.040” 

On page 38 of the M book, “Will treat property with respect.”

On page 77 of the M Book, “University of Mississippi has a responsibility to ensure that events are conducted in an orderly fashion and in the best interests of the University Community.”

The cost and labor that it takes to almost rebuild the Grove and the Circle can better be used elsewhere.

If I may take an old saying, “Not blind opposition to progress but opposition to blind progress.” Here at the University of Mississippi, we can agree that the resources, such as the Grove should not be use careless or inconsiderately or blindly. In brief, resources should be returned in the same condition at the beginning of the usage. 

If anyone wants a suggestion of alternative from misuse of the Grove and the Circle, I suggest that the Manning  Athletic Performance Center,   an be use from early Saturday tothe conclusion of the game, Also, the floor of the Pavilion of Ole Miss, even the Tad Smith Coliseum while that building is still there and the Track and Field Facility  can be used as an alternative venue from the Grove and the Circle. Also, those buildings already have the bathrooms available.

I know that the 40,000 people that come and goes for the Tailgating in the Grove would be unhappy, but I am sure that being a member of the community of the University of Mississippi, whether as fans, guests, student, staff, administrators or alumni would appreciate in the wisdom and basic courtesy of leaving resources and property in the same conditions so that every one can appreciate our beloved and tranquil Grove and the Circle at all times of the year.

William Patrick Gipson