28 February, 2002
OUR FAIR HAMLET
stop destroying our campus, you fuckos
l i n d a r o d r i g u e z
Last weekend, someone broke into Warner, kicked in the door, COPS stylie, for some bagels. Obviously, they were drunk and obviously, they were hungry. And no doubt, Sunday morning it seemed pretty damn funny, too. Not to sound prudish, and not to throw a wet blanket on weekend fun, but what we call fun these days is getting a little more than out of hand. Getting drunk, maybe getting a little loud, that's fun. Kicking in a door for a bagel is destructive. Shitting on a pool table borders on ridiculous. And honestly, do you really want to be the guy who has to squat and pinch it off in three feet above ground in the middle of the room?
The recent rash of violence and vandalism at Davidson is in all truth not so recent a rash--it's just that only now do we really address it. Four years ago, when more than a few dollars worth of damage was done to the campus, it was written off as the gleeful shenanigans of graduating seniors and fun, fun, fun. But now that uprooting trees and tossing spray cans into bonfires made out of fence rails has graduated to dragging out the dead deer (swiped from its problematic position in my front yard, if that means anything) dressed in a T-shirt and hat and setting it up front of Commons, the question that was a nagging gnat voice in my ear then has just started shouting: what the hell is wrong with us?
Thus far in my Davidson career I have been lulled into a sense of tranquility and security: in this, our fair hamlet, little dangerous, if anything at all, happens. Innocent Main Street boasts the gnome store and the Soda Shop--Compton, it ain't. Why worry, right? Perhaps wrong. While we talk of the dangers at big state schools and schools that are unfortunately located and look to ourselves as nearly the last bastion of safety in the loving arms of stagnant yet comforting Davidson township, at least people in those dangerous scary places are expecting violence. And they recognize it when they see it. To us, our violent tendencies have a tendency to express themselves and be noticed as stealing composites and bagels, trashing eating houses and throwing beer bottles at the innocents. But these are just the things we see and are just now gettting around to addressing; an estimation of sexual assault at Davidson per year is a fairly easy one to work out: 1 in 4 college women are assaulted in their college career. In Davidson numbers, and perhaps my math is wrong, but that comes out to roughly 200 women that you know a year. And the only time we warn people about the possibility of the sanctity of our fair hamlet being broken, the only time we even address the issue seems to be at Take Back the Night and freshman orientations. Not to equate defecating on a pool table and stealing composites with sexual assault, but more to say that each act of violence and vandalism is committed in a community that prefers to turn a blind eye than really investigate what in themselves allows this to happen and calls it a weekend. The danger doesn't come from the outside, it doesn't come from across the tracks, it comes from ourselves. We're the ones who get drunk and pick fights and chalk it up to another Saturday night. We're the ones who get drunk and drive into trees. We're the ones who get drunk and kick in doors to get to bagels. We're the ones throwing beer cans, we're the ones stealing composites, we're the ones breaking windows, and we're the ones acting like we've got no sense. And if we're not doing it, we certainly enabling it.
Davidson has lauded itself on the Honor Code and the honesty and responsibility found in its student body, at least it has attempted to present this to prospectives. And rightly so, because this school is nothing if not a business. But above and beyond the school's self-promoted inviolability, and because we can't blame everything on the man, we need to take some responsibility onto ourselves. True, Davidson is not overly forthcoming about the details of these weekend violence escapades, and true Davidson does seem to allow gossip about such issues to circulate like a game of telephone. But equally true is that we need to not allow there to be something to gossip about. The honor code and the code of responsibility may not seem like they mean anything after the Beast gets you in its water-and-piss clutches, but it should; it may not prevent you from being an asshole, but it should.
I'm not going to blame the frats for behavior that goes beyond even the remotest sign of human intelligence, because you don't have to be chartered to shit on a pool table, but I am going to say that NO ONE should act like that. The frats are not the problem--we are. At least act like you have some respect for someone else. The Golden Rule may have been forgotten in light of our more mature years since elementary school, but it should still stand: treat people like you want to be treated. If you want to be beaten up, pooped on, have your shit stolen, by all means, go to, you freakin' weirdo. But if you have any sense of decency, quit acting a fool. In the immortal words of Rodney King, can't we all just get along?