Let’s Get It Together, 2010
After experiencing several disappointing social events as seniors, it’s time to stop whining and do some self-reflecting. Why is Tufts all of a sudden changing its policies on alcohol? Why is Halloween pub night cancelled? Why did I-Cruise never leave the dock? We all want to point fingers at the individuals who took on much more than they could handle and put dampers on the night. I do not seek to point the finger at anyone, but it is also important to realize that although you may not have been the one leaning over a toilet or urinating in the hallways at Gypsy Bar, maybe you were the one watching your fellow seniors take that extra shot? I already know the reaction to this question. College students, and especially seniors, thrive on the idea of going the extra mile with drinking. It’s not uncommon to hear a friend say, “Come on, just one more before we leave!” Who can say no to that? And who can say no to the offer when it comes from a friend, especially when this is the last of “the best four years of your life?” I think we all understand the thrill of it, but look at the results. When we fail to say no to our friends, the Office of Campus Life can very easily say no to us. They’ve already done it, and they can do it again.
I met with Dean Bruce Reitman myself to ask questions about what’s really going to happen to our future senior social gatherings and suggest potential remedies to a senior pub “suspension.” He repeated to me over and over again that it’s not the administration’s desire to cancel these things. They don’t want to deprive us of getting together to form class identity or create good memories. But when Tufts’ name is found all over Fox News and CNN.com in an effort to humiliate the school for its belligerent social atmosphere, something has to be done to prevent these situations from further occurrence. He pointed out that this bad PR may diminish the value of the degree for prospective students. You have to admit, just as much as we want to look out for ourselves, Tufts has a bigger obligation to look out for its reputation in order to continue its public prestige. So what’s it going to be? Are we to say no before them? Better to be that one “annoying friend” for a portion of the night than to have 1,200 annoyed seniors stuck on campus on a Thursday night with no pub night to go to and maybe none to look forward to in the future. O
I think that being treated like an adult should be one of the many things that my tuition and my time at Tufts have earned me. I suppose it’s a matter of contention, but I argue that in return for our tuition, an institution of higher learning should treat students like adults in order to influence them act as such. I don’t think anyone wants to pay $200,000 for a babysitter to reprimand them for bad behavior— it’s clearly in the University’s interest to turn 18 year old freshmen into 21-year-old adults.
Adults should act like adults, and adults should be punished like adults. If a student is urinating in public or being an intolerable menace, then the police should sanction that individual. I don’t need another set of parents: I’m perfectly happy with the ones I already have. Ignoring the fact that I’ve yet to see legitimate proof or testimony of the sort of behavior seniors are accused of, the university still shouldn’t be punishing the entire senior class for the unacceptable behavior of certain individuals.
I’m concerned about the behavior my fellow seniors are accused of, but I’m disappointed in a college administration for being unable to balance an effective set of deterrents and inducements for less offensive behavior. By suspending senior pub nights and failing to clearly punish individual misdeeds, the administration has chosen collective punishment that angers over 1,000 future alumni. At the same time, there are no individual deterrents against peeing in public or stealing alcohol in the event of a revived senior pub night.
If the school is honestly concerned about its future, its reputation, and its students, isn’t it time for a “best practices” model of dealing with senior pub nights? Punishment with a blunt instrument has not yet improved senior behavior. In fact, I’ve heard stories year after year about the horrific debauchery of pub nights. While I don’t excuse blatantly illegal or disrespectful acts, I think that they should be dealt with in a grown-up way. I’d like somebody to show me a law against being wasted in a bar if you’re 21.
Dealing with drunk people and coordinating high-risk events has unpleasant aspects that anyone can appreciate. If fighting with belligerent students that either can’t hold their booze or drank way too much while trying to keep several hundred seniors happy is not your idea of a tolerable evening, I couldn’t find a single reason to blame you.
But, in the world of student activities planning and running bars, that situation comes with the territory. It’s the obligation of the professionals who are paid (with our tuition money) to coordinate student events to cope with the difficulties in a way that’s mutually beneficial. I want to see proof that the administration doesn’t want to cancel senior pub nights. Using indiscriminate punishment and treating seniors like children while expecting them to behave like adults is not good enough.