“Attention students: The big game is this weekend, *crackle* and I would like to remind everyone not to turn over cars, *crackle* dangle upside down from lampposts or set random things on fire…”
Dean of Students Dr. Ainsley Carry did what any concerned administrator would do. In his recent “Super Bowl letter from the Dean” he reminded students to be safe and represent his school conscientiously during this weekend’s festivities. He likely intended to trigger responsible attitudes surrounding any outcome concerning Philly’s favorite team, but for some students Carry may have triggered nothing more than a high school flashback.
The dean of students’ letter may have initially seemed reminiscent of announcements over the high school PA system, seemingly consisting of paranoid remarks. Carry’s recent e-mail, despite leading to some student misperception or indignation, deserves more consideration and praise.
Carry’s letter, distributed to the entire student body, was not meant to degrade students or paint them as no-good screwballs who can’t help but set a car on fire or riot in the streets. A number of students likely don’t care about this Sunday’s Super Bowl, especially those from other states. A large chunk of the university will undoubtedly act properly and watch the game surrounded by friends or family. Carry knows this. He also knows the grave reality of past Super Bowls, particularly last year’s, and its ramifications on students and universities.
After the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl a year ago, seven students attending Northeastern University in Boston were expelled and seven more were suspended for their participation in riotous acts. Eight students were injured during the victory celebration melee and monetary loses from the post-game pandemonium was $560,000 of lost tuition and scholarship money. For students still curious about the consequences of rioting, please refer to our front page story.
Carry only alluded to such events in his e-mail, choosing rather to gloss over facts that should have been included. To understand the gravity of inciting mass violence, the dean should have integrated the aforementioned numbers or at least provided a link to articles or facts concerning post-game riots. We’re not advocating scare tactics, but the student body deserves to have readily accessible information at their disposal in order to put the dean’s comments in context.
It was a commendable attempt by Carry to remind students to be aware that their actions can tarnish Temple’s reputation, even if they are engaged in acts that don’t involve the university. But because Carry excluded important and more complete information, probably in the name of expediency, much of his message lost its gravity. Consequently, the admirable message behind the “Super Bowl letter from the Dean,” may have been lost in translation from sender to recipient.