RCL #2.3: Two Deliberation Articles
Article 1: My Thoughts on Collective Punishment
Back in the third grade, I vividly remember one morning in which several of my fellow classmates were loudly talking over the teacher. I was not involved in this rude behavior, instead trying to focus on my work. Regardless, our teacher had enough of our antics, and decided to give us extra homework as a punishment. We all went silent, and I was especially shocked when I saw that I was given the same worksheet that all of the “bad” kids were getting. I felt a sudden surge of disgust go through my mind, and my then nine-year-old self simply could not stand it. I remember breaking down in tears at this perceived injustice, but at that point, the teacher was at his limit, and sent me to the principal’s office for my reaction.
Even back then, I absolutely hated the idea of blanket discipline; the only reason I was given extra homework was due to simply being in that class full of loud kids, a classic case of guilt by basic association! In the decade since my personal experience, my philosophy on the matter has not changed a notch, and to put it bluntly, I believe collective punishment needs to die. This is why I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I read the above article, which stated that only seven Beta-Theta-Pi student members were ultimately charged for the hazing case of Tim Piazza. However, the “bigger-picture” outcome still remains to be seen: whether or not fraternities should be banned, if not highly-regulated. Obviously, I can only hope that individuals, not collective groups or organizations, are held responsibly in the grand scheme of things.
Article 2: The eventual backlash against backlash
In this article, it is states that universities are unlikely to completely end fraternities, citing the revenue they brings in, the post-graduation opportunities they provide students, as well as the possibility of
“underground” organizations being established if school-sanctioned ones are banned. However, I feel that this article is missing one very simple, yet very key reason why a total shutdown of Greek life probably cannot happen: students will be pissed.
Going back to my personal experience in which I was punished with extra homework for behavior I was not involved in, I remember that this was a small classroom comprised of about fifteen little kids, and one “big and scary” teacher. As such, while many of my classmates back then may have been angry about it, there was not much we could do. However, if something on a much larger scale, such as the potential ban of Greek life, were to affect thousands of adult college students, there is no doubt in my mind that the backlash would be enormous. Protests of all sorts would likely erupt, making it more feasible to simply keep the status quo, rather than risk upsetting such a large amount of students and disrupting the university’s basic functions.