Guest Opinion by Janelle Barton
“Syre Student Center.” The sign outside the building seems clear enough. This place is designated as a center for students, right? Well, sure it is. That is, as long as students aren’t being destructive, distracting, or disrespectful in their use of that space. Unfortunately, students have been.
From moving furniture and engaging in rambunctious activities to using profane language and disregarding authority, some students have effectively ruined the reputation of the rest of us. We’re supposed to be adults and we’re supposed to act like it. But we haven’t been. Because certain students haven’t cooperated in following the rules, we’ve lost the use of upstairs Syre for student space.
It even got so bad that the college had to patronize us with “sad panda” posters in an effort to get us to follow the rules—grade-school style. And now, since none of these efforts have been effective in controlling the “problem” students, it’s come to this. The “Syre Student Center” has become the “Syre Study Center.”
Touché, administration. We get it. We have pushed your patience to its final golden straw. And I’m not going to lie, we deserve it.
We can’t change what the actions of a few have brought about to penalize the entire student population. I hope in writing this to convey the sense of frustration some students feel in being treated like children with the enforcement of these new rules.
I’m writing this to talk about my own experiences in being unjustly reprimanded and condescended to.
Now, as I’ve stated, it isn’t the fact that these new rules have been implemented that’s a problem. It’s the way these rules are implemented that I have a problem with. I’m insulted at the lack of respect, trust, and sense of responsibility we’ve been given.
Upstairs Syre has become the equivalent of that library nobody wants to go to. Seriously, if you want to talk to your study partner about finding derivatives or the quadratic formula or when your homework is due, forget it. It won’t be long before an official will approach you and tell you in a soft, derisive, and utterly condescending tone to leave, because, this is a “quiet study space only.”
But hey, what if I’m the one not doing the talking? What if I’m sitting in a group of students who decide to break the rules and discuss their algebra homework?
Just last week, I was in this situation. The group of students seated around me had decided to conduct a calm conversation at a very reasonable volume. I was seated quietly reading my Kindle (if I’m not mistaken, this is correct “Syre Study Center” behavior, no?). The group was approached within a matter of seconds and was asked to leave in a very condescending manner. Needless to say, the experience left me feeling a tad disrespected.
What really did it for me though, what has me typing this now, is the incident that occurred a few days ago. Again, I was sitting upstairs in Syre, completely and utterly silent. A gentleman conducted a conversation with me of an intellectual manner. It was not a loud conversation, and, being petrified of being reprimanded a second time by the school official, I did not reply at all to the gentleman except to nod and smile. Again, it was only a few minutes before the school official approached us.
However, it was not the gentleman who had been speaking that she reprimanded. She spoke only to me, telling me she had already given me a warning for my rule-breaking behavior and threatened to take down my name.
Twice I have been humiliated for simply trying to coexist with other students in a supposed “student- oriented” environment. I wonder how many other students have experienced what I have, and, like me, now avoid upstairs Syre like the plague.
I hope that this account will reveal to the administration that there are better ways to enforce the rules. Despite the occasional rambunctious group among us, we are college students. We don’t deserve the treatment we’ve been given. I urge the administration to reconsider their disciplinary policies.
But despite the challenges, my greatest hope is that one day the “Syre Study Center” can be reclaimed and returned to us as the “Syre Student Center.”
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