Why the divide?

commentary

So, by now, the article that was released by the Carroll County Times on Monday, March 26th has spread across campus via the internet and word-of-mouth and a consensus among students has been reached—it’s all complete crap. The complaints made in the article and the steps being taken to prevent them are unfair to the students of McDaniel.

My biggest issue with every single argument in the article is that is pins students and townspeople as distinctly different and inherently opposite. The tension between the two sides is clear, although the reasons are not, and the divide that has been created in the article pits good, lawful citizens against the loud, outrageous, and ultimately evil students.

There are a few valid arguments brought up by citizens: yes, loud weekday partying should be kept to a minimum; no, people should not urinate or litter on your lawn; but complaining that students will bring property prices down? Complaining when we come “off the hill” and spread out?  I take offense to being talked about like I’m an invader, even if I’m not living in one of the offending off-campus residences.

What I hear a lot of is townspeople trying to play mom. The complaints about untidy indoor spaces and students not taking care of residences sound a whole lot like trying to treat grown individuals as children who don’t know how to clean their room. Unless the mess is in a public place or directly affecting a neighbor’s ability to live in their home, it should not be commented on in a public forum. It is inappropriate and sounds like an excuse to bully students out of homes they are paying for.

Even by failing to inform the college of the topic of the meeting suggests that Westminster citizens do not consider us responsible enough to speak up for ourselves. Again, to stick with the parent comparison, it feels like a parent-teacher conference, where the adults gather to talk about the child, and the child has no right to hear or refute what is being said.

As for tagging houses with excessive complaints and subjecting them to random inspections, I feel it is an unnecessary and unfair use of police force time. Sending out a larger police force around the college on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights makes sense for controlling the “outrageous behavior” of weekend party-goers, but I cannot see a purpose for extra drop-by site inspections.

Although I have no arguments about Westminster citizens asking for a little bit more respect from college students, I find it frustrating when accusations start to be flung around because we are “only in college,” and “clearly not responsible,” and, worst of all, because we are clearly not competent enough to be treated like the young adults we are. Out of all of the ridiculous things I read in the article, Councilman Robert Wack seems to have the most level-headed view of the situation: “the government has no right telling the citizens what to do with their property.”

If you would like to read the article for yourself, check it out at http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/mobile/news/local/westminster-mcdaniel-team-up-to-combat-excessive-partying/article_f06d3a3b-ddfe-5339-b617-e761e9fff1a0.html