Arizona Republic reacts childishly to serious issue
In light of a recent attack on an Arizona State University student, the editorial board of the Arizona Republic published a short piece on how student conduct at ASU and the school’s overall reputation is detrimental to student safety on and off campus.
No one is doubting the shamefulness or the seriousness of violent acts committed against students, but the editorial board of the Republic has reacted childishly and unprofessionally. Its editorial resembles the knee-jerk verbal diarrhea one would expect to see in the comments of a column, not in the column itself.
For the editorial board to put its stamp of approval on such a broad and condescending piece is embarrassing and does little to help raise awareness of a very serious issue.
The article cites “binge drinking, fights and abuse of women” as proof of its opening revelation: “The idea that college students are adults ranks right up there with belief in the tooth fairy.”
This all culminates in the “sickness known as party-mania,” a kind of bogeyman out of, it seems, a 1950s informational film warning about the temptations of rock ‘n’ roll music.
Binge drinking, fighting and abuse all occur off college campuses as well, but I guess that fact is not important enough for the editorial board to consider. No, no — it’s the dang college kids, I tell you!
The article contends that these activities are “what some kids think they are supposed to do,” without providing any conclusive evidence or even taking a guess at what might be happening in our culture that would make “some kids” feel like they are supposed to do these things.
“Too bad,” it repeats. “Too bad parents don’t teach respect and restraint before they turn their little darlings loose on the world.” Here, we have gone from “some kids” to the general failure of “parents.” Of course parents are responsible for teaching their children respect and restraint, but it is ultimately up to individuals — students and non-students — to decide whether they want to be minimally decent human beings and participate in society like nearly everyone else.
But history has shown that some people just don’t want to play by the rules, and nothing can be done to change that, not by ASU, not by the government, not by law enforcement.
“Too bad Tempe can’t bill parents for the extra costs caused by their badly behaved brats,” the article says. But if the editorial board wants these outliers to “suffer real consequences,” would it not make sense for the costs to be placed on those who committed the acts in the first place? The editorial board seems confused about where to place blame and how to remain consistent with its “tooth fairy” revelation.
What happened at ASU is inexcusable and more people should be made aware of it, but the editorial board of the Republic went about informing people the wrong way. Instead of taking the opportunity to make a larger point about the importance of student conduct and facing the consequences of illegal acts, all it managed to express was its desire to get these “naughty children” off its lawn. A tri-university student safety task force is a step in the right direction, but instead of highlighting its purpose and what good could come from it, the editorial board chose to wag its collective finger at ASU.
Carson Suggs is a senior studying English. Follow @crsnsggs.