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Dorm Life Finds Way To Get Worse

Meant to pick up on this one yesterday. ODE editorial here. Not a huge amount to take issue with in the coverage, although the editorial wrings its hands a bit much. (“We must ponder who should be held responsible for this flagrant incident. The individual or individuals who made the alleged remarks should clearly be accountable for their actions. But…”) and the last paragraph is phrased strangely:

We are shocked that this sort of flagrant behavior would happen on campus. Administrators and student groups have taken steps to create a welcoming environment and a more diverse mix of students, but these efforts are in vain if students espouse racist attitudes.

The overuse of the word “flagrant”, in this context, is quite odd. I also think the conclusion is unduly defeatist. A world in which no student acts like an asshole is, alas, an impossible dream. That doesn’t mean a robust mechanism to punish people who (say) make racially motivated death threats to non-white students is a vain effort.

University Housing needs to investigate this seriously. Unfortunately, in order to do so they need concrete allegations against the individuals responsible, and at this point it’s not clear whether any will be forthcoming. Meanwhile, a point worth making again: if someone is found to have threatened the life of an incoming freshman – based on his race, his height, his sexuality, or because he looked at them funny – it’s not a “hate crime”, it’s a crime, and here’s hoping they find themselves in a whole world of trouble.

  1. Dorm Life says:

    There are other dorm life discussions happening at

  2. Scott Austin says:

    I was just wondering why a world without students who act like assholes is a dream. Per my guest editorial to the Ole Dirty, the University experience is by necessity full of those wonderful assholes. We need them to spice up life, and we almost always are them at one time or another. Anyway, I was and am, even if you aren’t or weren’t.


  3. Michael G. says:

    There are several things that bother me about these incidents (death threats and racial harassment) that make me doubt whether or not they really happened. Now, if it did happen and those responsible can be found, they should be held accountable to the fullest extent. For now, let’s look at the facts that the Daily Emerald has given us:
    The alleged incidents weren’t reported until after the student was back home.
    They were reported by the parents, not the student.
    The incidents were *not* reported to Public Safety. If it had been me, I would have taken a picture of the death threats on my message board and then made a call to Public Safety.
    There is zero evidence that any of this happened other than the word of the student and his family. Not that that it shouldn’t be investigated because of this, just that it seems dubious that there is nobody who can substantiate even the tiniest bit of the claims.
    There are also some other things to keep in mind. Namely, if someone was issuing racially-motivated threats against someone, it seems unlikely they would be the only victim. Maybe someone else hasn’t come forward.

    Unless we see some concrete evidence that substantiates the alleged incidents, I’m inclined to submit an alternate explanation:

    A student from Hawaii is thousands of miles from home in a place as strange as Eugene. He’s never been away from home and family before. His first week of class brings realization that he’s got 4 years of (possibly hard) work ahead of him, and that he misses home… bad.

    He withdraws from classes and calls his family to pick him up. He’s now faced with the disappointment of his parents and family, as well as friends back home. He invents a good story to lay the blame on someone else and foster support, rather than disappointment, from everyone he knows.

    Granted, this is just speculation, but the facts (or lack of them) as presented by the Emerald just seem fishy. Like there’s a lot of pieces of the puzzle missing.

    If the alleged incidents truly happened to this student, I’m sorry for him and wish him all the best and hope that the perps get busted for it. If not…

    I guess we’ll see as the story develops.

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