By Avery Strychasz, staff writer
$1.74 is not a lot of money. $1.74 can buy you a candy bar with some change to spare or a taco from Taco Bell. $1.74 can also buy you an ineffective policy designed to shame and punish Xavier students.
On Oct. 12, Kuhlman Hall residents were notified that they were being charged a collective sum of damages totaling $753. The acts of “vandalism” were defined as damage incurred to ceiling tiles, exit signs and hallway decorations among others.
I will be the first to admit that college students make questionable choices and that, as adults, we should have to face the consequences of our actions. In fact, I have no issue paying the $1.74. The issue I have is that through the repeated and default charging of Xavier students, the administration has established a policy of inaction and apathy.
For some context, I have been a resident of Kuhlman Hall for two years. When I received the first warning of impending damage charges on Sept. 15, I was struck by how similar it was to a message I had received the prior year concerning the same subject.
So, I scrolled through my deleted mail to find a message dating back to Sept. 24 detailing the same threat of group charges for damages incurred throughout the building — damages that included ceiling tiles, exit signs and hallway decorations.
I was then made aware of the same situation occurring in Justice Hall, where there was significant damage incurred to elevators that resulted in each resident being charged $16.42 for a total of $8,093.
When you consider that the same residence hall noted the identical damages only nine days apart two years in a row — and in a separate residence where extreme damage was repeatedly inflicted — it prompts the questions of whether the current charge policy is effective.
The answer seems to be no. It appears that Xavier is just more comfortable charging students passively than they ever will be initiating active policy, such as identifying the specific student causing the damage. This response highlights the disconnect between administrators and students.
To be clear, I am not advocating for students to go unpunished; as previously stated, we are adults and should we choose to make adult decisions that result in damage or vandalism, we should be charged.
However, as most of the student body does not choose to partake in vandalism, we should not be lumped into the minority. This makes us feel isolated and out of touch with our university and administrators as they judge us on the actions ofa few.
The group punishment tells us that we are no more responsible for our lives than when we were in kindergarten and put in a group timeout when someone disrupted naptime.
Additionally, it is counterintuitive to the goal of Xavier, which is to develop strong individual adults during their four years on campus. We will never truly know the meaning of cura personalis if we don’t care for the whole person in the policies set forth by the higher institutions.
Xavier, I implore you to do better. Students, we must do better, too. If we come together to work on cultivating an atmosphere of mutual respect for not only the property around us but for our fellow students and administrators, then we will have the Xavier community we were promised.