Throughout my four years here, I’ve heard almost every student I’ve talked to complain about how unfairly we are treated by security and the administration. I have often heard the relationship between students and administration compared to a variety of things ranging from a Nazi state to parents not trusting their children. I completely agree with the sentiments (though not the metaphors); I do think we’re under-trusted. This newspaper recently ran an article in which Dean Kreuzeman was quoted saying that that Wooster students didn’t have enough “courage” or “leadership” in order to have autonomy over our own Wooster Ethic.
I often think the powers that be underestimate our ability to handle ourselves. I was appalled by Dean Kreuzeman’s suggestion that we, as students, are deficient in courage and leadership to the point where we need to have overly strict policies. I thought — and still think — that “Safe, Sober, Smart” was a sign that the administration was totally out of touch with reality. Despite Dean Buxton’s assurances that the program is not designed to promote total abstinence from alcohol, I have seen no evidence to suggest that the school is encouraging responsible drinking as opposed to almost total sobriety. In a Voice article on March 4, Krista Kronstein described responsible drinking “as having a beer, or drinking a six-pack between friends.” Clearly, this position is silly, but we must prove that we can take responsibility for our own alcohol policies.
However, in order to prove to everybody — ourselves, the administration, and security — that we can handle the responsibility of personal autonomy, we cannot have instances like that which occurred on the Free Speech Wall last week. The Women of Images organized a display on the Art Wall eulogizing the death of Trayvon Martin and what it suggests about our society. On the wall, there was an area for students to express themselves anonymously. The result was a disaster. One of the first responses was “f**k the police,” and the conversation regressed from there. Whether it was “weed this” or “c**t that,” those attitudes do not and cannot reflect student ideology if we hope to have more lax administration and security policies in the future. Even an attempt at an intellectual discussion — the debate between libertarianism and socialism — was marred by a lot of name-calling and other forms of idiocy.
The phrases scribbled onto the Free Speech Wall continue to give the administration even more ammunition for the belief that that we are totally unable to handle ourselves. If we truly want to prove that we can be the sole authors of our Friday and Saturday nights, we have to start showing that we can handle the responsibility of something as simple as a wall and freedom of expression.