Columnist Responds To Opinion Editor: Stop Making Spina The Scapegoat

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This is in response to the article written by our Opinion Editor titled “Deeply Disappointed”: Opinion Editor Responds To President Spina on March 28.

Brett Slaughenhaupt
Movie Columnist & Social Media Director

The University of Dayton is no longer the safe space for drinking culture it once was. But this change in culture is not strictly coming from the inside — it is a result of an onslaught of recent cases involving the deaths of university students caused by binge-drinking.

With the addition of social media to elevate both the time these antics remain in the spotlight and who becomes aware of said antics, administration is looking for ways to change this kind of behavior. It’s pretty clear “the times they are a-changin’” and with any sort of change comes a level of fear and anger from those who wish to keep the status quo.

After this past St. Patrick’s Day weekend — an infamous time for UD —  lead to riot gear and destructive behavior, statements were made by President Spina noting his disappointment in the students who “created and sustained this harmful environment.” His response was fairly leveled given what had taken place over the weekend.

To be expected was the pushback on part of the students who have grown accustomed to such behavior and the alumni still living in their heyday. Rather than reflect on the behavior and decision-making that lead to 12 students’ arrest and the clearing of an entire street, common consensus seems to have decided to make this a culture war.

It’s no surprise given the foundation of affluence our school’s student population is built upon. Affluence that doesn’t often ask for blame to be taken or apologies to be made.

Instead it is all fun and games, isn’t it? Getting up at 4 a.m. to hang out with friends — fun and games. Spending all day consuming alcohol in a neighborhood of mostly new or renovated houses — fun and games.

Drinking to a level of intoxication well beyond the legal limit — fun and games. Moving the masses in the streets — fun and games.

Not listening to police orders, leading to a chaotic environment — fun and games. Shooting fireworks into crowds, attempting to flip cars, assaulting the police and one another — fun and games.

Twelve students getting arrested — fun and games. Local news stations reporting on the disarray of UD’s students — fun and games.

There’s a point where fun and games turns into something more.

What may be exciting to watch play out in films like “Project X” or “Neighbors” becomes a different story once reality hits. Real life has real consequences, especially when one is living under the approved upon governance of higher administration — whether that’s laws beset by government or a code of conduct system through the university.

We, as adults, came into the University knowing very well what we can and cannot do — if decisions are made going against those rules, we don’t get to play the “child” card anymore.

If you are legally drinking, you are a 21-year-old adult on the verge of a professional career.  No one is immune to mistakes, but there’s no one to take blame for your dumb behavior but yourself.

So when you make the conscious decision to go against the expected community guidelines and get called out for it, it’s complete nonsense to become upset. Save your crocodile tears for another day.

The administration — Spina, included — is not blameless in this matter. In the four years I have been here, it always seems like a surprise that college students take advantage of a holiday known for drinking, resulting in stupid and dangerous behavior. For goodness sake, this happens every weekend at UD.

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I neither condemn nor condone this behavior; it’s simply our present, unchanging reality. And the single response, after holding various committee meetings on day-drinking and the like, is to pretty much say “don’t do that” beforehand and “you shouldn’t have done that” afterward. We are well past the point of Einstein’s definition of insanity.

One may judge the way the administration goes about the issue, but their intentions are sound. It is their professional task to keep each student safe and hold the institution in high enough standing to attract potential students and their families. And as much as people may argue that the fun partying makes people want to come to UD, the more the country hears about our students’ drinking habits, the less they can hear about our research accomplishments, success in sports and other notable matters actually worthy of news time.

We should be ashamed of the image we are projecting onto the world. No one wants UD to become the next Penn State, in the national spotlight having to deal with the repercussions of a student death from binge-drinking. Hell, we have enough of our own problems to deal with.

I don’t mean for any of this to sound like a put-upon holier than thou statement. I have made my fair share of dumb mistakes involving alcohol throughout my time at UD. But I’ve grown from every mistake and poor decision made on my part. The same cannot be said for our student population, as a whole. And that’s not Spina’s fault.

This whole mess stinks of privilege and affluence we give off as students made up of mostly white, upper-class people making victims out of ourselves. This can’t be the hill we want to die on, as adults attending a Catholic and Marianist institution.

If our community can’t survive without drinking, then it isn’t really a community. Maybe we should stop hiding behind that word and redefine what it means to be a Dayton Flyer.

Photo Taken By Christian Cubacub/Director of Digital Media