Karalee vs. Leah: Should the college limit activities to curb student behavior?

Leah Ulatowski and Karalee Manis

K vs l

This past semester, Lakeland College has cut back on the hours that the 1862 Lounge serves alcohol, stopped sponsoring student activities early in the week and eliminated “Reading Day.” Some students consider these changes to be paternalistic, but others sympathize with the fact that the college has the right to make these adjustments in an effort to increase the graduation rate and ensure campus safety.

Should the college limit activities to curb student behavior? Read what our columnists had to say:


Leah Ulatowski: Why not?

Outside of a solid education, safe living conditions for campus residents and our constitutional rights, we aren’t owed anything by Lakeland College; extended bar hours, early-in-the-week school-sponsored events and “Reading Day” would be considered additional perks offered by the institution out of the goodness of school officials’ hearts.

I can only assume these privileges were revoked because too many students chose to abuse them, and isn’t the fact that privileges go away when we misbehave a better life lesson than letting students drink themselves silly and flunk out?

In addition, when students abused these privileges, it was not “harmless” mistakes that only hurt them, such as hitting the snooze and sleeping through class; rather, their behavior damaged the reputation of the college.

When students posted photos to social media of their binge drinking and underage drinking activities during past “Reading Days,” it reflected extremely poorly on our institution.

Likewise, it makes the entire student population look bad when our six-year graduation rate is only 46 percent on www.usnews.com, and if Lakeland officials have found any link between that and students being too distracted by early-in-the-week school-sponsored events, I can understand the decision.

Blacking out in a puddle of your own vomit on “Reading Day” from overindulgence is not a harmless mistake. It is a case of students deliberately going against every bit of their good sense and endangering themselves and others in the process. As students of higher education, we are supposed to be some of the nation’s brightest, and I don’t blame the college for limiting privileges when we fail to act like it.

Now, I truly believe that many, if not the majority, of Lakeland students practice moderation in their social lives and represent our college well in the effort they put into academics, and the only downside in all of this is that their privileges are withdrawn, too.

To these students, I wish to say they stop paying the price for the immaturity of others in the “real world,” but the reality is that we all feel the impact of the drunk drivers, the lazy co-workers or the crazy uncles/relatives, and so on and so forth. However, for the most part, immature people do reap what they sow in the “real world,” and they will end up working for all of the model students who had to deal with them in college—that is, if they get jobs at all. So, model students, you indeed win in the end.

To the students who abused these privileges in the first place, stop griping. Instead, bring those grades up, get on track for graduation and don’t misuse the privileges you still have. Prove to Lakeland that you can balance your social life and academics like the rational adults that you are, and just maybe, the institution will reinstate some of these limited activities.


Karalee Manis: NO

As I’m sure many of you have noticed, the number of school-sponsored activities at Lakeland has been reduced to be within only a certain number of days a week.

This means, if there are to be any kind of activities for students that are both promoted and sponsored by the school, they will only take place Wednesday thru Saturday.

Now, that does not mean that student activities can only happen on these days – if students want to hold an event any other day, they can, it just won’t be sponsored or supported by the school.

This lack of support, in both school promotion and funding, is greatly limiting not only to when events may be held, but also to the morale of the student population.

What kind of message is this sending to students?

Are we being limited in such a way to curb our behavior and encourage us to focus more on our academics?

This decision is sending the message to students that we cannot be trusted, that we need more ‘parental’ control over our lives because, obviously, we are not adult enough to make our own choices and mistakes and then learn from our own good or bad decisions.

This is also a problematic situation as it will inevitably force whatever events planned, either by students or the school, to be scheduled into a smaller window, possibly causing events to be held simultaneously by different groups or even to have too many options in just those four days.

Not only will it create a bottleneck of activity, but this is potentially more hazardous to our academics and social lives for the very reason it seems to be trying to combat.

Academically, students are often handed heavier loads of homework over the weekends.  If activities are only toward the end of the week, we’d be contending with more would-be distractions to our study time.  Are we now going to be forced to prioritize even more our study and social time during these days because they are the only days when an event worth going to may be happening?

To add to that, the start of the week, which may be lighter in assignments, will now be social activity dead zones in terms of college-sponsored events.  If there is nothing to go to, nothing to do, what are we going to do – stay in our rooms, spend more time off campus, or be forced to come up with our own forms of entertainment?

This last, admittedly, may well be a downfall for some students, and depending on outcomes of certain decisions, could even be an argument for why the school is doing this in the first place.  Of course, the argument could then be made that the action they are taking to prevent certain behaviors is the very action creating it.

Does the school not realize they’re creating a situation for which the outcome will be narrowed to one of two possibilities?

The first sees random student A spending less time on his or her academics during these limited days because this is the only time any type of organized social event is occurring.

The second possibility finds student B, trying to be responsible, not going to these events because he or she has homework to do and wants to give his or her studies the time and attention needed to succeed, despite his or her need to socialize and relax with friends.

This means the second option will produce events attended by a lower number of students.  When this happens, what do you think the reaction will be?

The college sees students not attending events, logically, more events and/or support for such events will be cut.

As retention rates are such a concern, is this really the way to go about keeping students interested in staying here at Lakeland?  If they are more often finding nothing to do, or finding they cannot attend events when they are offered, breeding dissatisfaction, why stay?

Unfortunately, this type of mixed signal presented has already started.

Did anyone notice that there was a Lunch and Learn event, sponsored by the Student Success and Engagement teams, held on Friday, Sept. 18 at 11:30 a.m.?  I don’t know about you, but I’m in class at that time.  Was I supposed to choose between my class and this obviously advantageous event (the school did promote it and sent out emails in advance)?  Which does Lakeland think is more important?

Remember the Campus Involvement Fair?  That was a Wednesday.  I was also in class during most of that event.  I’m sure the bees appreciated student attendance outside as opposed to class attendance inside, you know, free of the bees.

Not only are we being faced with limiting our good campus activities, but we’re being forced to prioritize education and sociality more than we ever have before.

There’s a reason we have Convocation and Meeting Time blocked out of everyone’s schedule – why isn’t this time being used more productively by the school?

Are we really supposed to just take these decisions, which we had no part in, and accept on good faith that they were made for our benefit, for our best interests?

Well, I’m an adult, I’m tired of others making decisions for me.  And if you want me to act like an adult – a well-adjusted, productive member of the community that Lakeland would like to claim to mold us into – then quit treating me like I don’t know how to make my own decisions.

Assertion of such control like this leads to discontent.  If there’s nothing for us to do but go to class, go to meals, and stew in our rooms or in the Campus Center, what makes this campus any different than an incredibly low security prisons.

Is this really how Lakeland wants to be seen?

For most of you Muskies, you’ll just have to resign yourselves to swimming in an ever decreasing bowl of social activity.  Try not to abate that dissatisfaction by touching the metaphorical ‘butt.’