The Mason Spirit

Mason Memories

So many of my memories at George Mason University involve blue lights, police officers, and even a Supreme Court justice. And yet I'm a law-abiding citizen.

First, let's recall the campus police. A few friends and I started to do a study of the Broadside's police files. At first it was an attempt by us to keep up with the crimes and stunts someone on campus seemed always to be getting away with. Then an incident in the paper raised these reports to a new entertaining level.

Apparently, someone decided it would be fun to pelt the campus police station with golf balls. The station house, of course, is located outside of Patriot Circle, with a vast parking lot spanning the distance between it and the Patriot Center. So the errant golfer teed up at a safe distance and began the assault. Soon, an officer emerged, spotted the golfer, and, presumably, took to pursuit - to no avail, however. As the paper noted, no one was apprehended and the police had "no suspects."

Looking back I realize the campus police understood the right level of enforcement. They were rigorous enough to stop things from getting out of hand - they busted a freshman in Presidents Park who was so stupid as to have illegal drugs mailed to him. Yet, they were not too heavy handed so as to take all the fun out of largely harmless rebellious behavior.

We found that out one night when a group from my freshman dorm returned from an off-campus party. They pulled up in a pickup truck just outside of Roosevelt Hall and unloaded from the back. One was so drunk two others carried him upstairs - they looked like drunken sailors returning to the ship. An officer spotted this scene and followed everyone to the third floor. When he approached the group, our friend was lying flat on his back in the hallway, eyes closed.

Upon hearing the officer's voice, however, our stone drunk friend stood straight up and said "Honest, officer, I'm perfectly fine." He then walked the few paces to his room as if he was a sober man, took one step in, and fell flat on his face - onto his bed, luckily. We shut the door. The officer, who could've made an issue out of it, simply left.

But it wasn't all craziness. Once, while I was chatting with a friend in the Economics Department, a man walked in who brought with him a sense of why academic ideas are important in the real world. It was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Walter Williams had invited him, but about a half dozen of us got to chat with him for nearly an hour. We talked about everything from taxes (which Williams brought up again and again) to law and some lighter topics.


Brendan Miniter graduated from George Mason with a B.A. in History in 1998. He is assistant editor of, the web site for the Wall Street Journal's opinion page.

Do you fondly remember certain places within the George Mason community that exemplified the "college experience"? Were you befriended by a mentor or professor at George Mason who influenced your life? If so, tell us about it. Send your submission to Alumni Affairs, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, MS 3B3, Fairfax, Virginia 22030. Please keep submissions to a maximum of 500 words.