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A Convenient Time for Reform

by: Dylan DelliSanti ‘14 Opinion Writer
PUBLISHED: 9 March 2012 No Comment

The recent rally outside of Venable should be reason to reassess our current policies on student social life. Objections from those critical of the movement have claimed that the idea of self-responsibility among the student body has failed, and that we can’t effectively take care of ourselves. However, the real problem is more institutional than personal: we simply do not have many choices on-campus during the weekend. If we were given more choices, we can reignite a vivacious social atmosphere while also promoting safety.
Right now students on this campus generally have three options on the weekend: go to the frats, go out of town, or stay in your room. The fraternities are typically enjoyable, but as some students have complained in the past: they aren’t for everyone. Going out of town can be costly for many students and moreover does not contribute to the communal atmosphere of the school. And of course, the diminishing marginal effect of staying in your room sets in pretty quick without the presence of the fairer sex.
Given these limited options it’s easy to see how many students have grown cynical. Empty parking lots, reckless behavior, and general boredom have become common among the student body. However, if we can expand people’s choices into more legitimized areas we cannot only encourage safer behavior, but also a more vibrant social atmosphere.
First, people living in on-campus apartments should be able to fill out party forms just like fraternities. It’s no secret that many people living in the Blakes and other campus apartments have parties. Often times, people hosting these functions have to stay on constant watch since the campus police can always shut them down. By allowing these social functions to be legitimately recognized by the campus police, we could allow for greater responsibility while also allowing people to have more options on the weekend to best choose the function they find most fulfilling.
Furthermore, independent bunkers should be built. This idea has floated around before, but the concern has typically been: who will take care of them? A tragedy of the commons (or better yet tragedy of the Venable bathrooms) situation could surely occur if the bunkers are simply free and open to the public on weekends. However, if we allow on-campus clubs to rent the bunkers out, then we can effectively overcome the commons situation, as the clubs can be held responsible for any damage done to the bunker. Once again, this solution allows students to assume responsibility while also having greater choice.
It is misleading to fault individuals if they make poor choices, if their choices are restrained from the outset. We should seek to expand our choices on the weekends so that self-responsibility can truly flourish on this campus.

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