Cleaning Up Our Act: Examining Student and Staff Relations

by Garrett Coble
opinions editor

It seems as though someone in New South had a little too much fun this past weekend.

I left my room on Sunday morning after a long night of studying and summoned the elevator to lower me to the first floor. I quickly found myself greeted by the pungent smell and sight of vomit. Even nearly a week later, the elevator still reeks with the same stench. As a strong opponent of the stairs, I was more than a little perturbed by the whole situation. I do not pretend that my daily inconveniences are so interesting as to warrant a full column. However, the message such behavior sends to those who maintain our facilities, and how this portrays us as a student body, does. 

In roughly two and a half years at Millsaps, I’ve witnessed truly astounding amounts of wanton damage and destruction. Freshman year, nearly every weekend would end with the first floor of Ezelle resembling a warzone. One particular weekend ended with the dorm sustaining damage in the thousands-of-dollars range. Some would dodge the shattered windows and vending machines  while chuckling, attributing the behavior to college shenanigans. I often wondered if those people ever watched the maintenance staff waste hours upon hours cleaning up after said shenanigans. I wondered if those people ever considered how such actions molded the staff’s opinion of students. Between practice and scholastic activities, I would find it exceedingly difficult to scrounge up the desire to clean others’ messes. In fact, I can think of few activities I would rather do less than replace the same window weekly or scrub the same puke-covered floors. I imagine most of you fall into a similar camp.

“Now it is time to take the same pride in our character.”

Thus I question why it would be appropriate to expect anything different from the maintenance staff. At the end of the day, such behavior only sends a message of apathy and disrespect quite unfitting with John Wesley’s idea of “doing all the good that you (we) can.”  It is time that the culture of disrespect ends and we suppress the childish urges and reinforce the behavior expected of young adults. In my mind, such maturity includes treating elders with due respect, regardless if said elder is the President of the College or the janitor of Bacot. 

In the end, the problem boils down to a matter of practicing what we choose to preach. I truly believe that being a Millsaps Major sets a student apart from his or her contemporaries at most other public or private universities. We endure increased academic loads, and often more extracurricular loads as well, due to the small size of the student body. As such, a Millsaps degree on your résumé bears more weight. Now it is time to take the same pride in our character. Our character must reflect excellence on par with our academics if it is to garner similar respect; to do anything less wastes our potential.