Welcome back students (and vandals and thieves). The teacher in me looks forward to the return of students to campus each year, but the homeowner in me dreads it. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights we can expect to be woken up by loud groups of students returning home from house parties and bars, some of whom will urinate in our yards, throw red plastic cups and Coors Light cans on our lawns, smash beer bottles on our streets and sidewalks, and rip branches from our trees. Are these events rare? They used to be, but talking with my neighbors we agree that theft, vandalism and generally inconsiderate behavior have increased in the past few years. Maybe you read the flyers around campus about the elderly couple on Briggs Street that had a glider bench stolen from their front porch. Last year a colleague had her locked bike pinched from a bike rack in front of the TNR while she taught class. Initially I was concerned that by writing this I’d make myself a target for more theft and vandalism, but I figured that thieves and vandals don’t read the paper, responsible, well-informed students do. So this is an appeal to you. Speak up when you see others being hurt and property being damaged or stolen. Pick up the garbage left behind by inconsiderate students. As a teacher I understand that the vast majority of students are responsible citizens that contribute a great deal to this community. Yet a few irresponsible students can give everyone a bad name – don’t let anyone give you a bad name. Hold each other accountable.
Christopher J. Yahnke