In recent years, Puget Sound students have enjoyed a feast of celebration with their peers at the end of each semester. Last semester, however, we were denied our festivities. The administration cancelled Midnight Breakfast for 2011’s spring semester because of some students’ behavioral problems at the previous event in the fall.
The ASUPS Senate and Executives met with the Midnight Breakfast Committee in the winter and spring to address the issues raised by the fall event. The committee was composed of the ASUPS President and Vice President along with six members of Puget Sound faculty and staff.
As they explained to the leaders of ASUPS, the Midnight Breakfast Committee would not support the event without significant changes. The hope of the Senate and executives was to modify the evening’s ambience and activities to encourage safer and more responsible conduct. The committee agreed that the proposed changes would be acceptable, but still insisted that Midnight Breakfast would not happen during the spring semester of 2011.
I agree with the sentiments of many students that the administration was wrong to cancel our celebratory breakfast, but for different reasons. Many students I have spoken with feel entitled to Midnight Breakfast—which, of course, they are not. My strong belief is that a small group of students, by acting out, have lost the entire student body the privilege of attending Midnight Breakfast. Cancelling the spring breakfast was a logical decision by the committee, but I—and most of the other ASUPS senators and executives—believe that it was unfair and potentially dangerous to cancel it when a compromise seemed to have been reached.
Midnight Breakfast requires volunteer support from some of Puget Sound’s dedicated staff. Both drunken and sober breakfast-goers owe it to them to make the event run as smoothly as possible. No one expects students to be on their best behavior, but sneaking alcohol into an event where it is prohibited, throwing bottles at staff and starting fights represent absolutely unacceptable conduct for young adults.
This behavior illuminated an issue that I have with drinking in general at Puget Sound. Students often act like they are not living on someone else’s property and that they are not a liability for the administration. In turn, the administration treats students like they are incapable of making responsible choices. Both sides need to respect one another and understand that alcohol consumption policies are in fact a gray area—one that the administration cannot legally condone, but that students should not push too hard for risk of losing privileges entirely.
This cycle of rebellion and authoritarianism must end, starting with the students. It boils down to the following principles. To the students: if you want to be treated like adults, drink and behave like adults. Being drunk is never a valid excuse for being stupid. And to the administration: if you want your student body to be as intelligent, diverse and reputable as the nation’s top-tier schools, give them the same respect. And for the love of God, let’s have some late-night pancakes at the end of the semester.