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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration


The Mifflin Streak: Time To ‘Legalize’ This Tradition?

The Centre Daily Times recently reported on the fallout from The 2008 Mifflin Streak and Pete Bosak, their police & crime reporter has suggested on his blog that it may be time to “legalize the Mifflin Streak.”

Safeguard Old State and its leadership are criticized from time to time for, as one detractor recently put it, “not knowing our place” at Penn State. Now presumably in his mind and the minds of others in the administration at Penn State, our “place” is probably at the bottom of a very dark well.

Regardless, it is with a persistent cheerfulness that we’ll now dive into a tradition that we haven’t discussed much publicly since our founding: The Mifflin Streak. Naturally, this is a hotly debated topic, as evidenced by more than 20 pages worth of reader commentary on the Centre Daily Times website just this week.

The Mifflin Streak, an annual student tradition dating back at least three decades, occurs every spring during the last weekend of the academic year. Thousands of students gather around Mifflin Road on campus and roughly one or two dozen students — young men and women alike — streak either completely nuke or mostly nude as onlookers cheer.

The Mifflin Streak is a lighthearted and obviously silly expression of the students’ relief that the semester is nearly over. Yet, over the past few years, police forces have started to make their presence felt in larger and larger numbers, tackling streakers — even diving off bikes to catch mischievous students. This year, about a dozen students were arrested and charged with, among other things, open lewdness.

I’ve heard from numerous members of our community, from a parent of one of the streakers who called the police action “ridiculous and embarrassing” as well as administrators and town residents. The overall reaction seems to be that the community regards The Mifflin Streak (which occurs at midnight) to be a bit of harmless student fun that administrators and police are unnecessarily trying to squelch.

As longtime followers of Safeguard Old State know, our motto is “preserving the rights and traditions of Penn Staters.” While not as distinguished as some of our institution’s better traditions like the Phi Psi 500, The Mifflin Streak is certainly not a dangerous or threatening student tradition, and it’s worth protecting, if for no other reason than as a healthy reminder that we’re young adults, and our youth spirit is what really gives life to this valley.

Scuttle our spirit and you’ll end up grounding Captain Spanier’s ship.

Update (June 14) — The Centre Daily Times piles on with today’s editorial calling for administrators at Penn State and prosecutors to have a “sense of humor.”

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Note: The Safeguard Old State Executive Staff does not moderate the comments posted by the public to blog entries. The comments of Safeguard Old State readers do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Safeguard Old State.

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