Volume 93, Issue 11

Thursday, September 16, 1999


Editorial Board 1999-2000

Punishment by silence

Punishment by silence

On Sept. 4, unknown individuals caused damage at Delaware Hall by breaking a staff room window and splattering purple paint into the office.

The very next day, Western's administration deemed it necessary to punish the presumably guilty engineering sophs and frosh for the damage, by not letting sophs enter residences during orientation week.

While this may only seem like a slight inconvenience, the fact is engineering frosh missed out the experience of having their sophs around during O-week.

On Sept. 8, four individuals presented themselves to the University Police Department and confessed to the crime. However, orientation week proceeded and engineering sophs were still restricted from residences.

The question of the hour, therefore, is why was the ban on sophs not lifted? The guilty parties were exposed and the case was closed as far as the UPD was concerned. Administration decided to suspend each of the four engineers for a year, yet the continued to punish the innocent along with the guilty.

One could argue convincingly that administration simply did not have the time to examine all the facts and lift the ban before O-week expired – if they had not demonstrated their sheer efficiency three days before. Upon learning of the vandalism on campus, administration instituted the residence ban within a matter of hours.

Why then, was this diligence not repeated?

Did administration not want to lose face before Western students right in the middle of orientation week, when all eyes of the Western world was focused on them? Or was it that administration wanted to prove a point – that vandalism in the name of school spirit would not be tolerated?

Either way, there is definitely problem. Administration should not, under any circumstances have the authority to punish an entire faculty of people – some of them at Western for the very first time – if they are innocent.

Whether the vandals were sophs or not, the engineering sophs deserve an apology. The guilty parties have come forward and those who were innocent worked hard to provide a fun orientation atmosphere, only to be excluded.

Administration should also apologize to the engineering frosh of 1999, who were left stranded on the two faculty days of O-week.

One week later, has an apology been issued? No.

As Western students, we should be demanding that some of our own, innocently punished for a crime, be given retribution – or at least recognition.

After the battle last year to extend O-week, it is no secret the event is under fire from administration. It is also no secret that Western is trying to clean up the party school image.

However, what still remains a secret is why administration cannot come forward and admit they were wrong, when four engineering students could find it in themselves to do just that.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999