Town Hall Meeting To Address “Unacceptable” Fest Behavior

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Athens city and Ohio University leaders want community member and student feedback in light of recent illegal events surrounding the annual street party, Palmerfest.

A town hall meeting has been scheduled in Athens at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9 at the West Portico of Memorial Auditorium on OU's College Green.

Police officers shut-down the Palmerfest party Saturday evening after a house fire and bottle-throwing incident.  Mayor Paul Wiehl declared the area a riot zone so law enforcement could clear the street and put out the fire.

Wiehl says the Palmer Fest party cost the city $40,000.

He says there are no easy answers, but he hopes a town hall meeting can help.

"Really, the thing is to say these are the laws. We actually re-educate them about what the laws are, not that we need to do that but saying this is what is not tolerable: open containers on the street, underage drinking. OK, so we're re-enforcing the expectations" said Wiehl.

OU President Roderick J. McDavis encouraged students, faculty and staff in an email to attend the meeting. He said the events of Palmerfest "opened a window" for the world to Ohio University and Athens. 

"We must come together to unwaveringly create and foster a safe atmosphere and positive atmosphere for our community. Only then can we demonstrate who we truly are," wrote McDavis.

President McDavis said that the behaviors displayed are an embarrassment and are unacceptable.

University and city leaders will be on hand at the town hall meeting to discuss the issues and answer any questions.