Feb 042007
Authors: Ryan Speaker

I must confess: I do not like, and at times downright loathe, our athletics department; this will be of little or no surprise to regular readers of my column. I believe the department takes too much money and attention away from the university’s academic program.

My feelings toward our athletics department aside, I do believe in fairness, and a sense of justice for all, even for athletes. I believe the four basketball players charged with reckless endangerment, a simple misdemeanor, have been treated unfairly by the university.

I understand there are all kinds of rules about student conduct, embodied in the Student Conduct Code. Most are silly, because many of the prohibited behaviors happen on and off campus every day, with nary a peep from the school.

Disruption of teaching – a ringing cell phone seems to qualify as misconduct. Obscene, lewd, or indecent sexual behavior – that may include any number of touchy-feely couples around campus. Engaging in sexual activity with a person who is incapacitated – every time you have sex with a drunk person, you are actively disobeying the school’s conduct policy.

The use and possession of alcohol is against the rules, but freshmen are probably the drunkest group on campus. I don’t have hard evidence for that, just my own encounters with them in class – and I doubt we have a great number of freshmen over 21 years old.

The use and possession of marijuana is also considered misconduct, but again, we all know someone who partakes from time to time.

The fact of the matter is we have a great number of rules that are routinely ignored by the student body, and routinely not enforced by the university. The only reason the university took action on the “basketball bombers” is because the police were involved.

If not for the involvement of the police, this may very well have slipped into obscurity, like the hundreds – if not thousands – of instances each year of underage drinking, intoxicated cavorting, and in-class text messaging.

Where is the concerned outcry over those forms of misconduct? We would all be Andy Rooneys if we complained about those modern-day doings; it is all “just part of growing up.”

But why do we draw the line at all-in-good-fun bombs? We say, “These are all the things you can’t do, but you could do some of these things and get away with it, but some of these things you absolutely cannot do.” Because some actions seem to be permissible, vindicated by their lack of punishment, maybe we could officially change the rules.

“It’s sort of okay to take sexual advantage of drunk young ladies, and it’s okay to drink if you’re under 21, and it’s okay to harass people, but only if you don’t get caught. If you get caught, these things are not okay. Also, never put a homemade bomb on a friend’s porch. That is never okay, but especially not okay if you get caught.”

The reality of CSU’s enforcement of the rules reads like something out of “Catch-22.”

As long as alcohol and drug use can be ignored without repercussion from the university, so too should a little bomb. I say “little,” because of the recent reporting in the Collegian of open chemistry labs, the potential for something much larger seems to exist, thanks to our university’s “It’s his job”/”No, it isn’t”/”Yes it is” door-locking policy.

The university should let the courts work this issue out, and in the meantime, take a serious look at the code of conduct and its blatant lack of enforcement. The university would do well to enforce its Student Conduct Code on the whole student body, not just those individuals who make it onto nightly news programs.

Ryan Speaker is a senior history major. His column appears every Wednesday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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