September 5, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 5  

Front Page >> News > From the Far Lane: When O-Week ends all blindfolds come off


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From the Far Lane

When O-Week ends all blindfolds come off

Emmett Macfarlane

In a few days, frosh will know what university life is really like.

Orientation Week festivities will be over - and although a lot of good, wholesome fun will have been had, the little knot in each first-year belly that has said "this is just like camp" all week long will disappear.

The simple fact is this: O-Week organizers, both at the administration level and among student leaders from the University Students' Council, have worked to make the week as morally clean as possible.

Sophs are contractually obligated to abstain from drinking, but have taken it upon themselves to not even mention alcohol and many wouldn't even tell a frosh where the closest beer store is if asked. Some will even take it upon themselves to "watch out" for frosh as if they were children and would go as far as breaking up a little flirting if there was even a hint that a girl being subjected to it had been drinking.

Administration, obviously, is behind much of the drive to make Western a veritable Carealot. Once upon a time, just about everybody could proudly call Saugeen-Maitland Hall "The Zoo" - but in an effort to dispel a "party image," administration has worked to quash the term.

Just last year The Gazette Frosh Issue was pulled from residences (and the copies literally tossed in the garbage) by Housing officials because of a handful of complaints about the "questionable" content. The blatant censorship didn't result in anywhere near the backlash it deserved (although the remaining copies were quickly picked up by students). Apparently we escaped the same treatment this year by releasing the issue after parents had already gone home.

None of this is because administration hates students (in fact, they probably don't). It has more to do with money, in two ways.

First, Western wants to avoid lawsuits at all costs and with the increasing risk of underage drinking given the younger first-year students, they feel they have to crack the whip. The second and more annoying reason behind growing university fascism is administration's concern about losing donations by angering parents and alumni.

So even though university students are adults, they're treated like children. The phenomenon is saturated during O-Week because parents are around, but even more so due to the culture that has developed among organizers.

The trend towards the bland, politically correct and child-like atmosphere is pushed by admin and perpetuated by some student leaders and head sophs. Once O-Week ends, sophs tend to stop treating frosh like children and the frosh begin to learn university is a lot less about being babysat and more like what they expected.



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