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Unknown source distributes McPherson party info
The Fall Fest weekend saw many current and former students of Bethel bring their families and friends out to enjoy the annual celebration into the fall season, with a broad variety of activities available. There was a home football game Saturday evening, performances of the play throughout the weekend, and booths scattered across the green Saturday.
However, one peculiar and uninvited guest managed to worm their way onto campus during this Fall Fest weekend as well. Posters advertising a “Stoplight Party” in McPherson the next weekend, October 9th, were found on student and faculty vehicles parked outside of Voth, Warkentien, and Haury.
Stoplight Parties are events where people wear a color or take a cup based on their relationship status, with the colors correlating to those on a stoplight; green is for single, yellow is for “it’s complicated” or talking, and red is for taken. However, the party was not a Bethel sponsored event, and an email issued to all students Friday, October 8, asked students not to attend for their own safety.
This flyer’s origin is unknown, and how it ended up at Bethel is a mystery. It is unknown if Bethel is the only campus these flyers appeared on, or if other local colleges such as Hesston College and Hutchinson Community College also received the same invitations.
One of the biggest concerns many had with this party was how vague the advertisement was, with some concerned this may have been a human trafficking plot, as people were required to show up wearing a color that signified if they were alone.
With one major interstate and three highways running through it, McPherson is a prime target for a human trafficking, and the next major city along Interstate-135, Salina, is even more dangerous, with Interstate-70 running through the north side of the city. I-70, according to the Federal Highway Administration, is 2,153 miles long, and stretching from Utah to Maryland, it is the fifth longest Interstate highway in the United States.
Obviously the concern is high for the safety of students here at Bethel, and while no reports of Bethel students going to this party have surfaced, nor reports of people going missing at this party have surfaced at this time, this serves as a much needed reminder of how dangerous suspicious advertisements can be. The National Human Trafficking Hotline reported 92 cases and 225 victims of human trafficking in Kansas in 2019 alone, and although numbers diminished in 2020 due to COVID-19 precautions, almost 90 cases have been reported in Kansas in 2021 already.
Bethel asks their students to make safe and responsible choices when it comes to attending events advertised on campus without approval, and to use their own judgement to decide whether or not they think an event is safe to attend.