Letter to the Editor (9-20-13)

Dear Lafayette Administrators and Student Government Body,

 

I am severely disappointed in the lack of forum student-athletes have been shown in the decision toenact harsher misconduct sanctions.

Lafayette can and should enact policies within their rights to protect student safety. However, applyingpolicy to a certain population segment based solely upon affiliation is a vast misuse of power. Alcoholabuse is an issue plaguing all American youth, not just those participating in sports.

I am also severely concerned with the exclusive language Student Government has leveled againstathletes. For an inclusive and intelligent community, it is unconscionable the elected government hassingled out athletes when it comes to alcohol abuse. To argue student-athletes are more irresponsiblethan the general populous is simply ridiculous.

While society has worked hard to eliminate labels, they persist at levels much lesser than gender andrace. Nevertheless, these labels have consequences. Are athletes prominent because of a winningscore or fast time? Possibly. Should this make a difference in treatment if they were to break a law orcreate an unsafe situation? No.

Despite the argument of notoriety, student-athletes are not significantly different than their classmates.

In many cases, they are probably more dedicated to school and time management because of anincreased demand on their time out of class. At a school this size, most students sit next to more thanone athlete in many classes. They are roommates, hall-mates, friends, lab-partners, study-partners, andmuch more. Interaction with athletes is more common than considered.

Most importantly, athletes are a tight core. A person they observe in trouble is someone they see one,two, possibly three times a day working out beside them. They probably share a couple classes and possibly live together. I proffer athletes are more prone to act on behalf of a friend or acquaintance than the general population; sport fosters a strong communal bond. There was a code from day oneamong my teammates – no one would ever go uncared for anywhere, no matter the circumstances.

The administration sees nine people hospitalized. I want to know in how many cases a classmate initiated lifesaving action. Rather than a enacting a group-biased authoritarian sanction, this institutionis better served by teaching action to preserve life. Kids learn first aid, Heimlich maneuver, and maybe CPR when they are young; why do adults not make it easier to save lives when it comes to collegestudents and their potential situations?

President Byerly is correct to say the Good Samaritan policy is “an important dimension”; I argue it is THE most important element. Instead of reducing this policy, it should be expanded. Students and guardians should sign a waiver against actions towards intoxicated person(s) and student(s) bringing them to medical care. No signature, no enrollment. This is not an action condoning alcohol abuse; rather, it ensures all students are willing to rescue a fellow classmate. The most important minutes inmedical care for any condition must never be wasted. No hesitation. In safety, every student should be their classmate’s keeper. There should be no hesitation or labels when it comes to assisting a classmate in distress.

I appreciate The Lafayette for rallying behind student-athletes. However, I respectfully disagree with the recommendation, “Abstain from playing until the policy is changed back to a more reasonable andless dangerous form.” I view this argument as ‘playing at this juncture would be complicit agreement, setting the stage for appalling and irreversible jurisprudence’. I see that. I get it; I am upset too. I certainly agree the current path needs to be altered; yet, it does not necessitate athletes jeopardizing scholarships, championships, senior years, and/or athletic legacies.

 

Derek Pizarro, ‘04

Swimming and Diving Team

Athletic Council Representative ’00-‘03

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