Celebrations Committee discusses couch fire solutions
A liaison committee between MSU and East Lansing discussed the impact of couch fires on the city and university, and plans for the weekend of Aug. 23 at its Thursday meeting.
“If I have a diploma from MSU hanging on the wall, I sure don’t want someone asking me, ‘Hey, you come from MSU. Did you start any fires while you were there?’” East Lansing Police Department Capt. Jeff Murphy said after the Celebrations Committee meeting.
“I want us to be known for the cool traditions.”
Murphy said fires were started every weekend throughout July and they’ve become the ELPD’s latest concern.
“I’d hate to see East Lansing be known as the city that celebrates by lighting things on fire,” Murphy said.
Murphy said the ELPD recognizes these fires aren’t started solely by MSU students. He added that with some of these fires, the danger isn’t always a result of an uncontrolled burn.
Imagine a full-size firetruck speeding through East Lansing, he said. They respond to the fires as emergencies. It puts people in danger and makes that truck unavailable for real emergencies.
At the meeting, it was said that couch burnings degrade the city and university’s reputation. Several solutions were put forward: a controlled couch burning, a broader “if you see something, say something” program for fires and a cultural change that disregards couch burning as a joke.
It was also mentioned that the majority of the student body disagrees with fire-starting and by standing up and saying something, they present a solution to the fires.
The weekend of Aug. 23 also was discussed in detail at the meeting.
Murphy said the ELPD is preparing for the busy weekend with reinforcements from Michigan State Police, Ingham County Mounted Police and MSU Police.
“It’s more fun for us to be at work if everyone is having fun and reacquainting with friends,” Murphy said.