Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Don't Let Them Lock Up SJU

I have an important matter to speak about that pertains to the students of SJU and CSB. It has recently come to the students’ attention here at St. John’s that they will be putting keycard locks on the freshman dorms over the summer, essentially making it like St. Ben’s—a prison. St. John’s has always prided itself on being an open community and this would simply destroy the aura of community and trust that permeates this campus. I was not happy when they had keycard locks installed on the new apartment buildings, Placid and Maur, two years ago, but there was no real choice to be made in that matter as they were simply constructed into the buildings when they were built.

I don’t think that the administration understands that the reason that no one ever goes over to St. Ben’s is that it is like a prison over there, especially before this year when Johnnies were finally given limited, unescorted access to the dorms. Before this year the only way you could get into the CSB dorms was by calling someone that you knew to come let you in and then having them escort you to their room or the person’s room that you were going to see.

This created many problems. First, if the person you were going to visit was down the hall or in the bathroom or not in their room at the moment, they wouldn’t be able to get you since they wouldn’t be there to answer the phone. You would then have to bother someone else in the building (assuming you knew someone else—I didn’t know many people at CSB before last year) to come let you in. The second problem was if the person you were coming to visit was on the phone. You would then simply be redirected to their answering machine. They were there; they just had no way of knowing you were because they were using the phone. You’d have to wait in the lounge or again call someone else to let you in.

This year Johnnies have been granted access to the dorms during the day, which is nice, but it still does not alleviate the prison feel of the campus. I still rarely go visit people at CSB because when I usually would want to say hi to someone will be on the weekend nights or at night during the week, which is exactly when our cards still won’t let us in. We have to go back to the calling method described above and deal with the problems it entails.

Do we want this here on the SJU campus? I somehow don’t believe so. I know the vast majority of the students are against it, but I really think that this does not matter to the administration. They have a consistent record of not giving a crap about what the students of our campus actually think. Look back at the J-term debacle. I don’t want to reopen old wounds, but in that case over 90% of the student body wanted to keep it (and many of the professors were also strongly in favor of it), yet the administration axed it without a second thought. Sure, there were other reasons going into removing J-term besides spiting the students, but it would have been nice to give the students a voice to actually be heard instead of pretending that they listen to the Senate.

The administration wants to make it seem like they care by pretending to listen, while the entire time that the Senate is talking, the administration are sitting by nodding politely and letting the words flow fluidly in one of their ears and right out the other. I think it is very, very sad that the majority of our student body doesn’t know that every day we are collectively being raped by our administration while they smile and say they are doing the student body a service. I often feel dirty knowing that by the time I am out of here I will have dumped $90,000 or so into their coffers.

I must again return to talking about locking up St. John’s lest I go on another tangent. By installing locks, the administration will be ruining an atmosphere that has been built up through many years of Johnnies living in the Benedictine tradition. One of the Benedictine values is community, which the administration is ignoring. Please let us continue in the tradition that sets this campus apart from so many others. I urge everyone to email Jason Laker about the potential locking up of St. John’s so that we can avoid this atrocity. Don’t treat us as children or as prisoners because we are neither. Let us keep our freedom.

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