I’ve been reading a lot lately about the decline in enrollment and the discontent this has caused. I’ve read about it being blamed on the ‘war on fun’. I sympathize with this idea to some extent, but feel those policies ought to be put in context.
What has stood out to me during the seven months I’ve been here is the wanton violence and destruction. On the last unofficial Halloween weekend, I saw someone’s car get destroyed. He was trying to leave a party and was run down by about five other people who began to beat his car. They kicked body panels, threw bottles at it — someone even jumped on the trunk and punched in the back window.
At the end of last semester, four cars in my apartment’s parking lot suffered various forms of damage. It ranged from punched-off side mirrors to someone who had their front end smashed in with a rusty, metal bar. Another car down the street from me that same weekend was beaten to pieces with an uprooted street sign. When my friends came down here, someone ran up one side of his car and down the other.
Every Monday, there’s new broken glass in the streets from the latest party weekend. More than once I’ve come to my apartment, often in the middle of the day, to find some kid trying to yank a bike off the rack. There were armed guards at my complex for Polar Bear weekend. Last week, I found a used needle in the street, for crying out loud.
So I understand why Halloween weekend has been cancelled. We’ve apparently had Halloween riots since the ’80s when Playboy coined our party school reputation. You can see the many riots since 2000 on YouTube. It’s no wonder campus, city, county and state police showed up to the Towers last semester when the power went out. SIU students don’t just party, they party.
Don’t get me wrong, I think SIU is a decent school. Not the best in the business, but certainly not the worst. It has a large, beautiful campus and the locals define the meaning of southern hospitality. Coming from the frigid six months of Chicago winters I’m used to, the weather here is phenomenal.
But at the end of the day, I came here to study. I’m 27 years old so I’ve had my crazy parties, nights of bad decisions and days of carelessness — but never to this extent. It is depressing and distracting to see so much senselessness from my peers.
What can the university do about it? Not much. It seems to be more of an issue with the quality of students we are attracting to this school. Raising admission standards to garner more serious students won’t do a thing for enrollment. Given the chance to transfer to another school, I feel sad to say I’d probably take it. I like it down here. But I feel many students don’t take this seriously, which makes me feel many employers won’t take my SIU degree seriously.
Perhaps our shirts should read, “We pregame harder than we study”.
sophomore from Glendale Heights studying electrical engineering