You're welcome, Father Poorman
Dig hole in sand, insert head, cover sufficiently.
I congratulate those of us on campus who stand on principle and law. I am a black and white person most of the time as well. This doesn't mean, however, that I'm blind to the truth.
First, I'd like to say that I'm addressing the minority here. I realize that most people on campus are in touch with reality and don't like to directly endanger the lives of their classmates or advocate a stance that does so.
There are those few, however, like Zahm Hall R.A. Lenny DeLorenzo, who are content to support any stance which to them looks good on paper, espouses their supposedly elevated Catholic morals and aligns itself with a law that they openly admit is completely ignored.
When persons like this announce and support a drop in statistics of on-campus emergency room trips, they are correct; exactly as was stated in last Friday's letter "Thanks Father Poorman." These persons however, are sure to admit that drinking itself has not decreased — only the on-campus incidents. What does this mean?
It means that those who were drinking on campus last year, and getting help, are now off campus in the same situation, passed out on someone's floor. And while this may be considered a great thing to lazy R.A.'s who would prefer less work commensurate with their free stay on campus, I feel it's pretty safe to assume it is not in the best interest of the campus as a whole.
At some point, it becomes time to reconcile both reality and the law. Efforts to control on-campus drinking, not eliminate it, will meet with success. Unfortunately, I doubt anyone here would have the courage to try an innovative program like an on-campus student drinking license or the like.
I do feel for the law-abiding claims of the morally self-righteous. They are standing on a principle, something I have done many times in the past and will certainly do in the future. I think perhaps it is unfortunate that they do so at the peril of not just the social atmosphere, but the lives of their schoolmates. Perhaps it is a sacrifice they are willing to make. And who could fault them for following the lead of the Office of Student Affairs (OSA).
This brings me around to the focal point of this controversy: The Office of Student Affairs and its affable leader, your very own, Father Mark Poorman. Having neither received, nor expected, a response from the OSA last week, I would like to forward from an alumni, a challenge to Father Poorman. The simple request is that he provide "greater transparency with respect to the studies they have conducted and the basis for [his] decisions." What can it hurt? If the decision was based on an honest assessment of students, using an honest measure of what is dangerous drinking activity, my argument is out the window. If it wasn't, well, hate to tell you, the cat's already out of the bag.
The same man also asked me to "urge current students and alumni to write to the Board of Trustees expressing their dissatisfaction with the present situation (something considerably stronger [than what the] student body president presented)." But we all know how likely that is to happen. It would be nice if students would stand up for themselves in such a way, but I better move on to something that's feasible.
This University operates on and for money — lots of it. One might even say it has been an overbearing focus of the administration starting with the Malloy presidency. Another alumnus recalled to me that in the past, Fathers "Joyce and Hesburgh used to rule the University by regularly asking one question, `How will the students be affected by this?'" This isn't the case today. Administrators seem to be more concerned with the CSC, "cash, strictly cash" and volatile clergy politics than in what all their positioning is doing to students.
The biggest weakness that I've been able to locate in the administration is their focus on greed. (Appeals to morality, justice, safety and reality have simply been ignored.) It seems from my copious amount of responses, I was fairly far off the mark with my assessment last week that alumni agree with Poorman's policy. Most alumni from the early '70s forward seem to agree about the shortsightedness and danger of the Poorman hegemony. Even the older alums seem split on the issue. For my part, should Poorman become the next University president, not a dime of mine will find itself in the University coffers during his tenure. I'd suggest that students and alumni make the same pledge.
John Litle is a senior MIS major who was shocked to learn he had to write a column for Friday on Thursday morning. He received 55 e-mails from alumni last Friday. Fifty-two agreed with his viewpoint. E-mail him your burning rage and tears of wisdom at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, his views are not representative of The Observer. In fact, he's fairly certain they denounce him.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
All Viewpoint Stories for Friday, March 7, 2003