McMillan: Dear CSU students: Please stop breaking things

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Collegian | Chloe Leline

(Graphic illustration by Chloe Leline | The Collegian)

Adah McMillan, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

On April 8, Colorado State University students got an email from Housing & Dining Services notifying us of how much damage we’ve done to residential facilities: $60,000 worth. With around 150 reported incidents of this damage, that’s an average of $400 per incident.

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$60,000 is more than out-of-state tuition and board. $60,000 is more than the average American salary. $60,000 is ridiculous, and we’re not even done with this school year. Apparently, we have some pretty pathetic self-control when it comes to not breaking stuff. 

The email says the insane amount of damage is “likely due to only a few who are not doing their part in upholding the Principles of Community, and they impact everyone in our residential community — residents as well as staff.”

For those who don’t read any signs on campus and need a reminder, the Principles of Community are inclusion, integrity, respect, service and social justice. Notice that the Principles of Community do not include the value of taking your feelings out on campus services.

We do pay a lot of money to go here, but that doesn’t justify ruining community resources. We have not yet advanced to the stage of civilization when robots clean up everything for us. Real people — often our own classmates — are cleaning up the messes we make, and I bet they’d really appreciate it if we made fewer messes.

“Our staff have had to dedicate more energy than ever on unplanned, high-intensity tasks like supporting residents through incidents of bias as well as cleanup and repair of physical destruction,” the email said.

“Bystanders are always partially responsible for bad things that happen, so if you see someone vandalizing, try to stop them or report them to residential staff. We need to create a community in which vandalism isn’t tolerated.”

I get that this is most students’ first time away from home, and you want to exercise your freedom, but this is still college. We’re primarily here to study and learn. Have some class and self-control. 

One person’s act of vandalism might not be a ton of damage, but when that adds up, we start losing privileges. The email says, “We are … on the verge of having to close certain common areas that students frequent, like some study lounges, due to ongoing destruction within the space.”

In addition to refraining from vandalizing ourselves, we need to encourage each other to not do it. Bystanders are always partially responsible for bad things that happen, so if you see someone vandalizing, try to stop them or report them to residential staff. We need to create a community in which vandalism isn’t tolerated. 

If you feel the irrepressible need to vandalize deep within your soul, visit a rage room. For the low price of $30 (much less than $400), you can buy 20 minutes of destruction at the Shatter Rage Room, a local gem found at 101 E. Stuart St. If you run with an especially disastrous crowd, you can purchase a group package and break things with your best friends.

If you don’t have $30 to spare and can’t afford a rage room session or normal therapy, try meditation — or if that’s not your vibe, punch a pillow. Anything is good as long as you don’t destroy the school and community property.

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It would also be nice if people would stop setting off car alarms in the middle of the night, but I guess I can’t be too picky. 

Reach Adah McMillan at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @mcadahmillan.