We didn’t start the fire!
I’ve enjoyed the last week or so on campus, not because of the beautiful weather, certainly not because of the crippling workload that comes with the end of the semester, and not even really because the summer is rapidly approaching. I’ve been thrilled with the excitement on campus surrounding some real controversy. It has been intensely satisfying to see the student body riled up about something other than green action (no offense to Green Action).
Our typically complacent campus has become, excuse the exaggeration, a hotbed of student activism in response to several controversies surrounding student profiling and fraternity formals. While we haven’t quite seen the chain dancing in front of the DUC that Proposition A brought about, students are buzzing, and angry op-eds are being written. What better way to spend the last weeks of school than in a blaze of furious anarchy?
Personally, I’m most irritated by the Daily Beast’s gall to rank us as the thirteenth most stressful school in the country. Seriously? Next time you decide to put us behind noted party schools like MIT and Carnegie Mellon, check your damn facts. I think we’re top five, easily. I’m stressing about our stress level! That’s got to warrant a rise in the rankings.
Individual grievances aside, I know a problem when I see one. Given our stress level, now ranked and codified by the Daily Beast, it is understandable why the student body is agitated. The recent comments on the news article covering the off-campus arrest show that there appears to be a general sentiment that Wash. U. is losing its fun factor. The amount of work that Wash. U. students do mandates an outlet for stress. The question at this point in the university’s existence is, where in the world is that outlet going to come from? I fear that, in a school increasingly concerned with its outward perception, these outlets—limited in their existence already—will continue to disappear. Happy students are productive students, and right now, there are a lot of unhappy students.
University City is a veritable warzone. Frat row faces a multitude of regulations. The easiest place to party is a freshman dorm…that doesn’t seem right. Who knows what students will be able to do for W.I.L.D., as recent years have established a trend that pre-concert festivities tend to be held off campus in University City.
I’m not hesitant to say that Wash. U. can be a fairly stifling place to be a college student. By no means do I mean to say that this school is a bad place to be a student. In fact, I think Wash. U. excels in many categories; however, I do believe that students care deeply about fun and freedom. I think the recent student unrest exemplifies that fact. I’m not advocating for 1968 Columbia University-style riots, in which President Grayson Kirk’s office was occupied. That would be simply ridiculous. On the other hand, so is the idea that students should have no place to enjoy themselves. I see two consequences: An entire student body with a Xanax prescription, or…a student body with the highest arrest rate in the country. Note to readers: Take my hyperbole with a grain of salt. I’ll be imagining myself sitting in Chancellor Wrighton’s office. 1968-style.
Charlie is a Sophomore in Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org