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ISSUE 120 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/2/2007

Respect for the community

By Executive Editors
Executive Editor

Friday, March 2, 2007

This past week Hoyme Hall took a beating – literally. Students decided to take Hoyme’s reputation seriously and trashed the place, leaving the entire hall full of residents facing the consequences for the damage. I don’t know about you, but this would make me angry. In fact, it does make me angry.

Perhaps this “residential campus” idea is to blame. Because we are no longer responsible to our parents for cleaning (someone else cleans our bathroom now), some students perhaps think that they are no longer responsible for the messes they make. They can live in the filth of their rooms, and everything else is taken care of (pretty much – those in Rand are S.O.L. on the bathroom front).

I see further evidence of this in the Caf: You can’t throw grapes, croutons or whatever in your own kitchen; your mother would make you pick it up. But suddenly it is funny when someone else – some Caf worker who probably doesn’t like it and certainly doesn’t deserve it – cleans up the smooshed grapes you threw.

Never mind that it is just rude and annoying, especially when you hit someone who is not your intended target. Nothing is more disgusting than picking food out of your hair or off your clothes. Again, perhaps since you do not have to clean my hair or my clothes, you do not understand how annoying this is. You are just trying to get someone’s attention, and it is fun, right?

Of course this doesn’t make it right. Why should someone else, whether physically or financially, pay for your good time and your irresponsibility?

Most of us are out of our houses, away from our parents, on our own for the first time. We have a new-found responsibility: We get up in the morning on our own, go to class (most of the time), work at jobs, participate in activities and finish our homework. So why can some of us not take responsibility for shared places, shared property? We brag about the safety of our campus – we tell prospective students how we can leave our bags outside Stav Hall and nothing will happen to our stuff.

But then something happens like what happened in Hoyme this weekend. Do we want to tell prospective students about this? Isn’t this exactly what doesn’t happen at St. Olaf? Is this not the advantage of a tight-knit community like St. Olaf as opposed to a large state school? If these things happen here, does this mean that this community – the mutual respect we have for each other – is nothing special after all?

Some would say that I am overreacting. This is an isolated incident, this almost never happens. But shouldn’t we be outraged every time something like this happens? Shouldn’t all the culprits step forward and take responsibility for their earlier lapse? Furthermore, shouldn’t we be outraged because somebody violated the trust of the community exactly because this never happens?

Perhaps it is easy to indulge in a little sloppiness, a little irresponsibility because our parents are not around the corner to nag us. But think again – now that I am part of this community, how will my actions affect others?

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