Friday, September 4, 2009

On personal responsibility

Oh today. Today the new students arrived on campus. I don't have Monday off, Labor Day, because, ironically, I will be laboring as the returning students come back to campus.

We survived today pretty well. There were a few encounters of the aggitated kind, as we told people they actually had to PAY THEIR BILL before they could move into their rooms and finalize their registration. But most of the people were very pleasant and excited. It is a momentous time for the students and for many parents, the first time they are sending their child off to be on their own.

Which brings me to my treatise on Personal Responsibility. Two things happened in the last week that were fascinating and puzzling and irritating all at the same time.

First was the streaker. A few days ago, while the mens soccer team was running drills on the field, a young man, not associated with the college, took his clothes off and began running laps back and forth on the field. My boss and three other colleagues were walking back from a meeting and passed the field as this was going on. My boss immediately had someone call campus police. Then she went into the athletic office, and had the director of athletics call as well, in case the other call didn't make it through.

As all of this was going on the dude noticed that he had been noticed and left the field, put his clothes on and began walking off campus and into the neighborhood. Campus police did manage to find him and apprehended him. Turns out he has a record of this kind of behavior.

Point A) not one member of the men's soccer team bothered to do anything. No phone calls were made to campus police, no one confronted the guy, NOTHING.

Point B) the soccer field is directly adjacent to the playground for my son's day care center. The center happens to be closed this week because it is work week for the teachers, but had it been in session, this occured during prime playground play time.

As a result of the individual being over 18 AND the fact he was naked in public within a certain distance of a school, i.e. the day care center, he is now accused of a very serious crime and if convicted, would have to register as a level 1 sex offender. Massachusetts does NOT mess around with this.

I am, as was my boss, LIVID that the soccer team did nothing. There was a NAKED MAN on the soccer field. I get that being naked is not necessarily threatening, but you have no idea what this guys story is. What DOES have to happen before you pick up a phone? Does he have to have a weapon? Does he have to threaten someone? One of those men should have had the sense to pick up a phone and call campus police. And my boss said so to the athletic director. I would go talk to the entire team myself, as a mother of a child at that day care center. I probably won't be encouraged to do that, but I would.

Then later this week, we had a mother send an email to student accounts in which she insisted that she didn't owe the balance they said she did, and even if she did owe it, how could they think she could pay $17000?

Here is the thing: We don't have any opinion about whether she can or cannot pay that amount of money. That is simply the cost of the service she is attempting to purchase. It is up to HER to decide if she can afford it or not. It is not anyone else's responsibility to do that, or pay for it. If you wanted to buy a car, you wouldn't walk into a Mercedes dealership and say "I can't possibly pay that amount for that car, but you should let me drive away in it right now anyway". Maybe she would. But I doubt it.

So personal responsibility - at what point do you take a stand, take action? At what point do you own that something is up to you to do or not do? When do you act like a member of a community and take a stand to protect that community? RIGHT NOW. That is when.


Dproudmama said...

reminds me of the time I reported a man urinating in public near our house. It really seemed that the call was received with some surprise. Then the time a police action was going on when I saw a young man hiding in a stairwell where I knew he did not live. Called the police - who needed someone hurt? Do we live in dangerous places? Are we butinski's? If no one sees the crazies, then is no one crazy? Care about each other.

Audubon Ron said...

Wow, fun school where everyone takes their clothes off.

witchypoo said...

I used to volunteer at a food bank. One woman demanded to know how I expected her to feed her six children on what we were able to give her. Some people feel very entitled, I guess. I think I would have been grateful for the groceries I wouldn't have to pay for.