Bullying on campus at MSU is an issue our administration takes seriously. The university’s anti-discrimination policy lists 14 protected classes, including race, age, gender, veteran status, and height. But a recent trawl through The Morning Watch archives led us at The Evening Look to an article that makes the case for a fifteenth class: students who write for The Morning Watch. Written by an anonymous contributor, the article is called “An Open Letter to Those Who Think MSU Students Can Do Better”. In it, we see ways in which The Morning Watch contributors are harassed on campus. With such a serious proposed change in university policy, we must take a careful look at the article to see if the case holds up.
The first group terrorizing the writer is bikers. They write that “in my year and month here, I have been hit by 2 bikes and nearly hit by countless others.” Here at The Evening Look, we discourage victim-blaming, but this seems wildly improbable and makes us question whether the student doesn’t know how to walk, or is trying to commit insurance fraud off a biker.
In fact, we’re happy to give you tips on how to walk in the sidewalk, which we’ve used to become champion walkers in our time at MSU:
- Walk on the side of the sidewalk. Bikers are mad at you all the time, so just act like the sidewalk is a road and let all the assholes who are going too fast pass on your left.
- If you have to cross from one side of the sidewalk to another, look before you move. Bikers don’t have any way to inform you that they’re coming, so you should make sure they aren’t sneaking up on you, waiting to run you over because they saw you reading The Morning Watch.
- If you find you’re still getting run over by bikes, now’s your chance to get even – get your own bike and start running them off the path. Show them who’s the king of the sidewalk.
The writer then asks why all bikes are using the sidewalk, given that university ordinances say they should ride in the road. They share a story of seeing a bike accident happen because a girl on a bike didn’t stop fast enough. Why didn’t she stop? According to the writer, it’s “because like most college students, she could not make the right and safe choice.” But if bikers had to ride in the road, they’d be sharing space with drivers, most of whom are also…college students. How can we trust college students to make the right choice driving a car, but not riding a bike? If I was a biker, I’d rather run over a person by accident than get maimed by a car with an anime girl paint job that chose to make an enthusiastic right turn on a red light.
What it really sounds like is that the student wants the sidewalk to themselves, with no corrective force in the form of bikers to make them walk correctly. Check your sidewalk privilege, bucko.
The second group of toughs violating our most holy ordinances are smokers. Specifically, people smoking behind dumpsters and in dorms. We don’t know why the writer would come at students smoking behind dumpsters, because that’s a top tier smoking spot. The garbage smell covers up the smoke, making it known that these students care about the feelings of people around them. They don’t have to do this, especially if they know there are The Morning Watch readers to bully, but they’re nice folks. Another smoker causing trouble is the one who lives below the writer, blowing smoke into their inexplicably open window. “Sure, I could just close the window, but why should I change what I do to accomodate someone breaking the law?”, they protest.
The writer acknowledges that smoking marijuana is not as serious a crime as murder, though you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise from his article. “Once we start ignoring one ordinance of law, when do we stop?” Are people incapable of judging laws individually? This hyperbolic phrasing makes it sound like students can’t believe that one law could be acceptable to break without thinking that other laws might still be good to enforce. A quick look at the stats confirms that we have in fact drawn a line – there has been one murder on campus this academic year, but every night there’s enough smoke to make Morning Watch writers madder than LeBron getting a no-call.
Now, we’ve done a thorough examination of two ways in which The Morning Watch readers are harassed on campus by dangerous criminals who make our university unsafe. But how would they fix this issue?
The answer, to the writer, is that nobody else is allowed to have fun, except in the most boring, sanitized ways possible. They turn their attention to MSU’s party scene, asking how we can stop the crime of…underage drinking. The writer does not party, but apparently it is a huge issue to them that other people do. They mention that Flint started a “Crime Area Targeting Team” in 2006 that “went into areas of crime activity and stopped the crimes before they became crimes.” They also clarify that they are “ignorant…of the exact details of how this team works and the legality of their operations, but their tactics have proven to work.” A quick search reveals that the Flint unit was actually started in 2016, but that’s besides the point because the quoted part deserves a deeper examination.
This sentence is jaw-dropping. First of all, trying to break up house parties is extremely lame, but the big issue here is that the writer is seemingly giving approval to any tactic necessary to break up house parties. Can cops just chill around the frats and break in the door whenever they hear someone open a Natty? Can they shoot to kill when they see a Solo cup? Can they break out the tanks and create a Tiananmen Square moment at Sigma Nu? The writer may not be in favor of some or all of these, but the article is written so vaguely that it must be assumed that these are fine.
This mindset is all too pervasive when it comes to law enforcement – that it doesn’t matter how legal the tactics are, or how insignificant the crime is, as long as some tactic is effective at stopping some crime. The Flint unit they bring up was designed to go into areas with serious drug and gun crimes. Even when these tactics are being used on crimes most people would consider dangerous, how would the police know who is a criminal? To use procedures that are unethical, if not illegal, to break up parties based on the idea that people who drink underage are on the slippery slope to murder is a ridiculous idea. This reveals a deeper hypocrisy: this person hates crime so much that they are willing to let cops commit whatever crimes are necessary to stop crimes. It’s a “solution” that makes nobody happy except for people who write comments on local news sites.
We have a better solution. The writer has been incredibly uptight throughout the piece, getting very mad and extrapolating world-historical consequences from people breaking minor campus rules, and that’s not a healthy mindset. Fortunately, the solution to the writer’s issues is right under his nose: marijuana. Just yell out the window the next time you smell smoke and find out what room they’re in – they’ll be happy to share their big doinks with you. One hit and you’ll forget you were ever mad at bikers, that smokers were bullying you, and that we needed dirty tactics by campus cops to stop partiers from murdering everyone.
– K. Sins