Crashing the Party
This week, I have been very intrigued by all of the coverage and media attention received by college and university administrators and their efforts to mitigate some of the behavioral issues on campuses throughout the country. Some of the most publicized attempts by groups such as the Amethyst Initiative, which consists of chancellors and presidents from universities and colleges, have been targeted at lowering the drinking age from 21 years of age to 18, to prevent the culture of binge drinking. While opening up debates about lowering the drinking age is fine and dandy, I must say that I was tickled pink when I read an AP article at the Post-Dispatch site titled “Universities try to control students off campus.”
Many campuses across the country are starting to monitor the off-campus activities of students much more closely, because of the large number of students that pursue off campus living arrangements. Large schools, such as the University of Washington, Penn State, and the University of Colorado–Boulder, have enforced such laws, and have seen progress. According to the article, “Being cited for breaking the city’s noise regulations is enough to score an invite to the [University of Washington’s] student conduct office.”
Granted, a college or university has the right to create a code of conduct that is conducive to the educational environment on campus. If colleges do not want noisy, disruptive students to attend their school, that is their right and academic freedom. The only concern I have is in how they would investigate these occurrences. If a student were to receive a citation for a noise violation, would the school wait to see if the ticket is actually challenged? At Duke University, for instance, the campus codes only require that a student report misbehavior to campus officials. This could easily represent another example of administrators punishing first and asking questions later. There is no liberty in just being accused of something and then reprimanded — there must be due process.
This only leaves a few choices for students in the future: accept these strict regulations; voice their concerns and seek change in the institution; or withdraw and attend a more lenient college or university. For the men in Old School and Animal House, this would be an easy decision.