Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

The UMass administration is not your mother

A glance at history will show that as social systems become more complex, the entities that govern them become more restrictive and less popular. We have seen two primary solutions to this problem. Either their component parts become autonomous or their governments attempt to fix the system with rules. As people complain, they demand reform and put yet more rules in the books.

So, I have to wonder why the Center for Student Development (CSD) thinks it is a good idea to be as half as regulatory as it is.

To say it is difficult to get space for student organization events does not begin to describe the exhaustion getting even medium-quality space induces. I’m pretty sure the CSD has a ritualistic trial of honor and survival to secure the Student Union Ballroom or Campus Center Auditorium for a night. Imagine a “Lord of the Rings” challenge in a “Lord of the Flies” setting. That’s basically what they make you do.

Of course, this difficulty of getting space on campus for a student organization event is largely based on supply and demand. So it is not inappropriate to pause for a moment and question what kinds of Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) we should have and in what capacities we should have them. After all, part of the restrictiveness in these systems is the number of organizations that want different things while competing for limited resources (tax dollars). Before I continue any further, I need to make it expressly clear that I did the following to make no points whatsoever about individual groups or the topics with which they are concerned.

I went through the list of Registered Student Organizations and tallied about 40 groups that directly relate to race or racial topics. This number does not include racial fraternities and sororities, of which there are over a dozen. With the CSD reporting there are just over 200 organizations, this means that just about a quarter, if not more, of student groups are ethnic or racial in nature. Additionally, there are just about nine organizations excluding fraternities and sororities that are directly religious in nature. Think about this again: these comprise over 25 percent of all student groups. This is an awful lot of financial and spatial resource to extend to people based on race and religion.

The reason I mention this is because having such a disproportionate number of groups related to political correctness feeds into a larger mechanism that makes the student organization system clunky and rigid.

So, what do people expect the administration to about it? Apparently, since space is limited, some think we need more bureaus with more regulation, their rational being that it will preserve space and reduce chaos. But in reality, all we get are more technicalities and reasons to resent a system that defines individual freedom as a governing body allowing its subjects to act rather than its subjects allowing its organizers to govern.

The criteria that must be met for events in order to be condoned by the CSD are so prohibitive and jungle-thick that they cease to contribute to the welfare of people and have actual paralyzing effects on student groups.

Take, for instance, a simple event like playing a night movie on a quadrangle. Fixing a projector requires ground stakes. Underground utilities cannot possibly be damaged by these, as they are set at a level under the soil much deeper than the stakes could possibly penetrate. Yet the CSD demands we spend hundreds of dollars hiring inspection companies for this very reason.

Events that involve distribution of food apparently require the presence of emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Why? Is it because someone might choke and require medical help? Should we not, therefore, have EMTs stationed in the cafeterias for the same contingencies? Of course, we should not. People choke and die. It happens. But if the administration has to take responsibility for it, then apparently we have to spend thousands of dollars a year protecting its hide from legal ramifications.

Truly it can be said the issue stems fundamentally from accountability. The money we spend protecting the administration from lawsuit abuse and the systematic disregard for supply and demand in favor of maintaining a shallow politically correct image has completely ruined organization fluidity. Regulations pop up wherever there is liability to be shared or blame to be allotted. The government is not your mother, and neither is the Center for Student Development.

Brian Benson is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at bbenson@student.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to “The UMass administration is not your mother”
  1. muad'dib says:

    If the CSD was my mom it would do a much better job of introducing me to girls I don’t want to go out with.

    Good column, keep it up!

Leave A Comment