Letter: ‘Just having fun’ has damaging consequences

As I looked at the headline of the Letter to the Editor by Jeanene Skarshaug in the Iowa State Daily on Sept. 4, I had to chuckle just a bit. “Cancellation of Veishea removes students’ chance to prove worth.” My question is what they are supposed to prove These “riots” have been occurring off and on for more than 25 years. Why does this keep happening? The administration has bent over backwards as long as I can remember trying to accommodate the students. But yet it appears there is little or no respect returned to the administration, the campus or the community from so many students. 

I am an employee of the university and one of my jobs is to attempt to keep the campus grounds well-groomed and presentable for all that visit and attend classes here. However, there are times when a few students feel it is necessary to destroy public property for absolutely no reason. What possesses certain individuals to feel the need to destroy property that taxpayers fund? I do not understand. 

I am wondering, that as Skarshaug was writing her letter last week, if she realized that there were students vandalizing the grounds of President Leath’s home. Not only did they do this Sept. 4, but they also did so again Sept. 5. I’m sure they meant no harm. They were just having fun. But the damage that occurred on the property will need to be repaired. This damage will cost taxpayer money to repair. The students that did these damages probably will not step forward and pay these expenses. They will allow all of us, the taxpayers, to foot the bill. You see, they were just having a little fun.

I think it is time that someone informed these unruly students that their “just having fun vandalism” costs all of us in the form of tax dollars. I’m curious if the students arrested at the Veishea celebration reimbursed the family of the student that was injured for his medical expenses? Did they reimburse the city of Ames for all the clean-up and repairs that were necessary after their night of “having fun?” Did they reimburse the owners of the cars that were tipped over or damaged that night?

I think it is time that someone informed these unruly students that if they don’t want to continue to lose other privileges, maybe it’s time to grow up and act like responsible adults. Responsible adults take personal responsibility for their actions. How one handles personal responsibility, in my opinion, is also a part of one’s character.

I guess one of the telling issues for me was the bystanders that night on Welch Avenue. The students say it was only a few out of control guys that ruined it for everyone. Really? There were apparently a handful of individuals that did the majority of the damage. How many of the hundreds or thousands of people standing around felt compelled to stop them? Or did you encourage them on? No one stood up to these vandals? Why? I would really like to know why. You see, each of you that stands by and does nothing is nearly as guilty as the troublemakers.

So I will quote Skarshaug as she wrote so truthfully, “Maybe today’s students just aren’t ready for the responsibility of hosting such a large event. I think they will miss the opportunity to prove themselves ready.” You are so right Skarshaug: they aren’t ready. Not until they grow up, take personal responsibility and act like responsible adults.