Three years ago, a younger, more wide-eyed version of myself sat in a high school English class, weighing my options for where I would be attending college the next year. The highest ranked school in my eyes, Penn State University, was an image of quality scholarship and undergraduate experience that excited me and made me push through the final months of my last year of secondary education.
An opened acceptance letter to the University Park campus sat on my kitchen table, enrollment fees were paid and I chatted with my future roommate with an excitement that rocked the household.
A few weeks later, Hofstra University declared my acceptance and swept me off my feet, and my dreams of becoming a Nittany Lion were quickly put to the side as I withdrew my intent to enroll. Penn State became a fading memory of a life left behind in my quiet town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and my undergraduate studies began at a school hundreds of miles away.
Despite this, I still feel the sting brought about by the nationwide response to the school’s decision to proactively protect its reputation from the incredibly damaging potential of fraternity and sorority behavior to negatively affect an educational institution of Penn State’s caliber.
The protests are a disheartening reminder of the reality of Greek life as it transcends a message of community and family into one polluted by toxic misunderstanding and misled values.
Brothers have taken to the streets in protest against the school’s Greek life crackdown, but the backlash on their part is both unnecessary and incredibly juvenile.
A school’s first priority is to its students – protecting the student body and the university’s reputation goes hand in hand. New restrictions including the strict prohibition of underage drinking, no day-longs or kegs and putting a limit on the allowed social events with alcohol per semester are not unreasonable. The student experience is not diluted.
In light of the recent death of Penn State’s very own Timothy Piazza, in fact, the protesting of such restrictions serves as a disrespectful and unnerving testament to the future of the university’s reputation if the state of the student body’s growing unrest continues on its current path.
A university is only as strong as its students. It is only as noble as its students. The students of Penn State University should not only reevaluate their personal values, but remember what it was that made them choose the school in the first place.
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