To the Editor:

This upcoming weekend, my six housemates and I will be downgrading our housing status form the spacious townhouses into the humbling rooms of Claver Hall. The infractions that caused us to get the boot occurred before the school year started, even before the Mirror’s crime beat started their tally for the year.

That made us the first serious offenders of the ’03-’04 year, and the faltering winners in the race to visit Kim Nickolenko. And yet, for the last three weeks we’ve been allowed to settle into a fully decorated complex and start the school year off like any other group of students, telling our story and striving for pity.

My complaint is with the judicial operations at our school, one shared with anyone who has ever walked into a dorm room right before an R.A. and been punished for it. Having had our meeting with Judicial Affairs two weeks ago, we sat alternating by the phone eating pasta for four days before we received the duplicate manila letters informing us that our stay in the 15-block had come to an end.

I don’t even know if they have a process for swapping 14 students over a weekend; according to the maintenance personnel that came to fix our ex-freezer door and ex-closet, nobody’s ever lost their entire house.

So, we’re special: the last three weeks have, for us seven delinquents, been a confusing mix of getting adjusted to independence while trying to defend our desire to continue to have that luxury.

The elusive “it’s all in the student handbook” line is a snow-job and a half. Some people will find fault with us- and with the two kegs, one “Beirut” table and a handle or two of hard liquor that were found in the basement when a burnt burger set off a fire alarm that first Sunday afternoon. But I’ve been through this system before, and the only solid advice is to be careful, rather than mature.

How many gatherings has the average freshman or sophomore attended that were “registered” or “legal” or had “less than two kegs?” Why should people think of themselves as individuals, if they won’t be treated as such when caught in the spotlight?

Extensive punishment of seven students raises all sorts of questions about how much those manila letters truly meant it when they expressed hope that “you can move on from this experience in a positive manner.” If this were a Greek system, I’d plug in Otter’s famed “isn’t it an indictment on our entire American society?” speech right about here, with everyone buzzing the Battle Hymn of the Republic in the background as I storm to a conclusion.

But beware of losing your student privileges and becoming an example; beware of violating policies that are constantly and easily broken, yet seldom revealed to underclassmen and watch our for kids who don’t know how to use a frying pan. Time to go find potential buyers for all the pots, pans, grills, dinnerware, decorations, couches and rotisserie oven (just set it, and forget it!) we no longer need.

I have learned from this arduous process, not to respect the powers that could have championed us as the number one community service house on-campus, but rather to avoid their skeptical notice while on probation so that I can go abroad in the spring and represent our university as an individual once again.

I have always been a respectable student of this university, even when the university forgets. Until then, back to the dorms, watching and waiting. One last note: If anyone needs a frying pan, we have five for sale.

Pat Lynch ’06

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