When I saw the headline “First-years found to be involved in scheme to secure better housing” glaring from the front page of the Record, my first reaction was to laugh. I don’t consider paying for a better housing pick to be a scheme; it seems like more of a waste of money. A group of rising sophomores needs that early pick so badly that they’re willing to spend $50 apiece to secure it? So be it. It seems to me that there are more worthwhile uses for that kind of money, but who am I to say?
However amusing I find their decision, though, my humor quickly dissipated as I read on. It occurred to me first that surely something is happening on campus that deserves front-page coverage more than the aftermath of room draw does. When you cut through all the hype, where on campus you end up next year really isn’t all that critical. You’re never more than 10 minutes away from anyone else’s room, so it’s not as though you can’t just leave yours, should the desire strike you. Isn’t there something more newsworthy than a moralizing article condemning the “cleverness of some students to try to get an edge?” (As an aside, don’t we normally approve of clever solutions to problems? Last I checked, “clever” wasn’t an insult.)
But the worst was yet to come, as the article went on to speak in rather vague terms about “investigations” and “disciplinary proceedings.” To say I was shocked would be inadequate. Is the dean’s office really going to waste its time passing judgement on the morality of student’s actions? I don’t believe that morality and integrity in personal (non-academic) matters are really issues within the administration’s jurisdiction. Fair play may be a nice idea, but it is hardly an enforceable law.
In a final ironic twist, the article ends with the bland statement that “it is not unusual for students from different classes to pick in with each other.” And these students, from different classes, picked in with each other. What makes the money so important? Whatever deal was made is secondary to the fact that nothing wrong has happened here.
Sad about your pick? Mine wasn’t that great either – get over it.