When I read the March 31 article in the Maroon about a student from Tufts House whod been kicked out of housing, I thought the headline was a joke. Boxers-wearing student expelled from Housing. Boxers? They kick people out of the dorms for wearing boxers now? I know they kick people out for destroying property or using drugs, all understandably intolerable offenses. But boxers?
In Pierce Hall, where they have community showers, dont people have to walk there in their towels or underwear? After all, it is very inconvenient for students to bring all their clothes into the shower with them. And this seems unfair to those students living with communal showers. Why should Max Palevsky residents be allowed to walk to their showers in their boxers while Pierce students are not?
As usual, University officials gave me the run around when I called looking for answers. Assistant Director of Undergraduate Housing Jim Wessel told me that he was not able to comment on the minimum expectations for community living. Apparently, Wessel functions as some sort of dormitory dietya Moses-like figure who can deliver one set of commandments to Pierce Hall, then come back down from the mountain with 10 new ones for other dorms. (And Assistant Director Wessel said: Thou shalt not wear skirts in Burton-Judson.) Then Assistant Director Wessel hides them in a safe in the Housing Office, where no student could ever read them.
The no-comment is, of course, a standard bit of bureaucratese. (See Want Something Done? Dont Ask SG in the January 26 issue of the Maroon for a fuller description of this complex language.) When Wessel says he is unable to comment, he really means, I can do whatever I want because I am the assistant grand lord sultan of the dormitories. And who cares if they complain, theyll be gone in a couple of years anyway.
As for Jack Chua, the offender who apparently violated an important community standard by wearing his underwear, he has moved into an apartment on 54th Street and Woodlawn Avenue, and harbors no ill will towards the administration. He told me he wanted to thank them for refunding his housing deposit and spring quarter room and board payments. I stood to lose all of my spring quarter room and board payments, he said, and I would have been forced to pretty much be a hobo. Again, all over a pair of boxers.
As for Tufts House, a source tells me that a populist backlash to Chuas expulsion is brewing. There have been private House meetings without RH or RA supervision discussing the fate of the House and what should be done in light of the current situation, this source says. There has been a petition signed by every single member of the House advocating for his return. One of the goals of the housing office is to increase the sense of community in the dorms. In the words of our President, mission accomplished!
Jack hopes that he will soon be let back into the dining halls, from where he was also banned. But why? Were they worried he was going to wear his boxers there as well? Perhaps Chua can get by without an on-campus shower, but a college student should be able to eat, even if it is at Pierce.
This absurd overreaction by the administration requires an apology. As an incentive for them to do so, I pledge to eat nothing but Pierce food for one week if they do the right thing. But I dont expect that to happen any more than I expect answers from the administrative bunker on issues that affect student life, because, after all, this has to do with the confidentiality of individual students. As everyone should know by now, this is bureaucratese for were never wrong. That is just ridiculous.