Letter to the Editor:

Lance Cahill / Washburn Review

Dear Editor,

I have sat here for hours thinking of how I wanted to word this. I wanted to be outrageous, call people out and be angry, but that won’t get me anywhere. The purpose of this letter is to give the other side of the Facebook story that was printed in the last issue.

It’s no single person’s fault; I’ve finally come to that conclusion. It is the system that is so dysfunctional. The system that I am referring to deals with disciplinary action imposed, specifically, on students who come to the dean of students’ office because of Facebook.

There is no Facebook policy at Washburn University, and this doesn’t mean you should post all your drunken photos. Obviously, be smart; especially when you’re on campus, and when you’re not of age. Don’t take pictures with beer cans or whatever else is in your possession. That’s a no-brainer. If you get caught for something like that, I agree you should be disciplined. We’re all adults; therefore, we are responsible for what we show the world on our Facebook pages. Yes, it’s important to watch what you post.

Now, in regards to the incident that was described in the newspaper article, it was about some of my friends and me. I will recap what the article said for those of you who didn’t get the opportunity to read it. It said we were in a dorm room taking pictures-some of which had alcohol in them-and we posted those pictures on Facebook. A student authority found the pictures and turned them in to the dean of students. The article stated there was no proof of the violations other than the pictures. The dean of students was quoted saying, “Those students were in violation…when I brought those students in, I simply asked them if they had done what the pictures showed them doing. They confessed to the violations…” The article explained that when the dean of students is presented with situations such as these, he must ask a student if they are guilty or not. If they say “no,” he must let them go.

Let me explain what really happened. First of all, we were not in a dorm room-a small detail, but incorrect nonetheless. We were in the Washburn Village. Yes, we did post pictures from an evening together with friends, an evening that did not include any consumption of alcohol. A CA from the Village did turn in a single picture to the dean of students, and we were called to his office one-by-one to meet with him.

I was the first student to meet with the dean of students. I had no idea what I possibly could have done that had anything to do with alcohol. The first thing I was told was, “I need you to decide whether or not you would like to solve this with me or with the Judicial Review.” I asked what I had done, and he refused to answer until I chose how I wanted to proceed. He recommended I get it over with and solve it with him, so that is what I did. The quote from the story said we were asked “if we had done what the pictured showed us doing.” In the particular picture he showed me, I was jokingly kissing my roommate.

According to the dean of students, we were participating in something against policy in the picture. I honestly thought I was getting in trouble for kissing my roommate. I stared at the picture for a minute or two, unable to figure out what I had done wrong. The dean of students circled a fuzzy, blue object in the background of the picture. He looked at me and said, “Beer cans.” At first, I couldn’t even tell what they were, but after looking I saw they were beer cans. At the time of the get-together, I had no idea they were even there.

Also, he asked if I was drinking. I DID NOT CONFESS to doing something I wasn’t doing. Obviously, from his quote, he stated that we “confessed to the violation.” Why would we have confessed to something we were not doing? At this point, according to his second statement, I would have been let go, but I was fined somewhere around $105. The verdict: I willingly put myself in a situation with alcohol on campus.

I warned my other friends what was in store for them, and one-by-one they went in. Each time the outcome ended differently. One friend wasn’t given the option to go before the Judicial Review, and the next had to go to the Judicial Review even though he had no prior offenses. Eventually, we were all fined different amounts for the same offense. Later, our fines were evened out via letters in the mail.

Here’s the kicker. The last one of us went in, and he knew exactly what he was in store for, and he decided to try a little experiment. He transposed an image of beer into a picture of the person who turned us in. He showed the dean the picture during their meeting, and the dean immediately told him she would be called in and disciplined as well. That easy, eh?

So, that’s the story, and I want all students to know this could happen to you. Please understand, the system does not work. It has so many flaws. The rules that have been established are bent and broken on a regular basis, as you can see from this story. There are thousands of pictures on Facebook of students “bonging” beers or taking shots on campus, and I do believe these students are being very irresponsible. It serves them right if they get caught. But if policies are going to be enforced on one student, they should be enforced on everyone.

Jennifer LoucksWashburn Student