Laurie and Debbie say:
Almost six years after 9/11, Americans are getting more or less inured to 21st century air travel; we even put up with egregious misuses of the no-fly list.
Apparently the University of North Colorado seems to be comfortable with a “no-study” list, a patchwork list of inconsistent and unreliable reasons why (apparently) tuition-paid students should be banned from the campus, is enough to shock even people who have lived through seven years of the Bush administration.
The banned student making the news (apparently one of many) is Brittany Bethel.
Her crime? Anorexia.
Bethel says she was working at the UNC recreation center in September when she collapsed from complications from an eating disorder. She says she was then diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa.
As a result, she says she was suspended from the university because she was considered a threat to herself which breaks the school’s honor code of conduct.
It states that a violation includes, “Conduct which threatens or endangers the health, safety, or welfare of any person or university property.”
The interpretation of “any person” includes being a danger to one’s self.
First of all, we want to honor Bethel’s bravery. Anorexia is a difficult and dangerous condition; anorexic behavior is notoriously difficult to change. She has more than enough on her plate, and the last thing she needs is authority figures telling her that she’s dangerous. They should be ashamed of themselves; and more to the point, we hope Bethel is proud of herself.
Second, really? Being a danger to yourself is grounds for being banned from campus? They have a football team. They have sororities and fraternities, which implies hazing and alcohol. Their students drive cars. Some of them probably have unprotected sex. The concept of campus administrations as “in loco parentis,” (acting as parents) to the students went out in Debbie’s time when dormitory curfews and rules about opposite-sex visitors became out of date.
Finally, why is this making the news now? Before the Virginia Tech massacre, the list was confidential. Now, it’s posted on the university’s web site, with pictures. “The school says it is a response to the shootings at Virginia Tech University, but it admits not everyone on the list is a potential danger.” That’s why Bethel’s picture is next to a football player who stabbed a teammate. Right. Thanks.
Did we mention how much we hate the stereotyping craziness that follows any kind of massacre? After Columbine, it was goths and kids who spend time in their rooms. Now, apparently, it’s students with emotional or mental problems (or it’s Koreans, or Asians, and don’t kid yourself that targeting one of those groups is any better than targeting the other).
Bethel’s own words say it best: “I have been facing the hardest thing of my life. This is just adding a lot more stress.”
News flash (especially for UNC administrators and decision-makers): putting extreme stress on an anorexic is not just a bad idea; it’s a clear and present danger.
Thanks to Arthur Hlavaty for the pointer.