Party video sparks controversy

Zach Bailey

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Scandalous, viral footage angers students, administration, MnSCU investigates

By Zach Bailey / Winonan

Though most college kids find fun at an occasional party or bar scene, where is the line drawn between having a good time and having just a little too much fun?

Two weeks ago, a YouTube video titled, “It’s Lit – Winona State University” went viral. The video began with many college students drinking at various house parties and slowly turned into a video that would not be considered “family friendly.”

The video, which sparked an uproar among students and administration, was taken down within 18 hours of being uploaded.

Denise McDowell, vice president for enrollment management and student life, sent an email to all Winona State students that discussed the impact social media can have on someone’s life.

McDowell said she wants students to use more discretion.

“Think about your image, you have to protect that image,” McDowell said, “[Protecting your image] is far more difficult now than when I was your age. For you guys, doing this is the push of a button. For me, I had to lick the envelope, mail it and wait for someone to find out.”

The creator of the video, Nate Walkine, is a student at DePaul University in Chicago, Ill. and has a love for photography and videography.

Walkine said his videography experience started in Los Angeles, but he never really filmed parties until a fraternity in Los Angeles invited him in to its house to film a party.

Walkine has a friend who goes to Winona State, and he said his friend had told him to film at the university.

“[The video] blew up way more than anyone expected it to,” Walkine said. “I didn’t expect the video to be that crazy.”

At first, Walkine said, most of the comments he was getting from people were positive, saying that the video was “fun” and “cool.”

“After the video started to go viral, the same people who told me they liked it, started to change their minds, telling me things like, ‘okay, that’s enough, you can take it down now,’” Walkine said.

Walkine then started to receive messages from people asking him to edit them out of the video, which he said he would try to do.

“I felt so bad for everyone. I go to school too, and I know my professors wouldn’t approve of this video,” Walkine said.

Walkine added how having a fun time is not only good but important in life.

“The video was supposed to show Winona State as like, ‘yes, we have a good school, but we also have a good time going here,’” Walkine said.

One of the biggest controversies of the video was whether the people in the video had consented to being in the video or not, especially since the majority of students were intoxicated, and their consent was unreliable.

Walkine said people were into the idea of it at the party.

“It’s a huge camera with a big light on the front, you can’t miss it,” Walkine said, “I had all these people running up to me, asking to be filmed. They were all loving it.”

McDowell found out about the video after a student had come into her office stating they were concerned about students and Winona State.

“Twenty years from now, someone in that video will want to run for governor. You have to think about your image in the long term,” McDowell said.

McDowell said she understands the need to have fun, but errs on the side of caution.

“My first thought on the video was, ‘What were they thinking?’ It’s one thing to have a night out on the town having fun, but it’s another to have it captured for eternity,” McDowell said. “Just remember to be conscious and be aware. We want to make sure students are having a learning experience, as well as a positive experience.”

Walkine has removed the video from his YouTube account since the being asked by the university, but another account has uploaded it using Winona State’s brand.

MnSCU is currently investigating the situation.