Zeke Men Set Record Straight
To the Editor:
I am sure by now that everyone has heard versions of the “extracurricular activities” which occurred in Zechiel Hall Friday night and Saturday morning of two weeks ago. Everyone from ResLife to the WRC has been wasting their time wondering who did this instead of pursuing the more beneficial question of why this event occurred. First, any accusations that this vandalism has been attributed solely to Zeke residents or to football players are ungrounded and (believe me) entirely false. We, the members of the Zeke community, do not condone the actions and events of that Friday night and Saturday morning; however, this vandalism succeeded in illustrating a very disturbing point to us: it requires actions this extreme to gain the attention we have been requesting for the past four months.
On Friday afternoon, Zeke residents had to find out from the front page of the Oberlin Review that a building which has been all-male since its construction was to become co-ed. This should not have happened, and the members of ResLife, Housing and Dining and whoever else was responsible should accept responsibility for handling this situation very poorly. I am not speaking of the actual decision to make Zeke co-ed. I am saying that there should have been anticipation of a negative response. We should have heard this news from ResLife or Housing and Dining before we had to read it in the newspaper. At least someone could have come by after the article was printed in order to calm people down, provide alternatives and prevent retaliation. But no one came. No one was there to advise us or show us appropriate channels to express our frustration. Instead, we were let loose to deal with this disappointing news ourselves.
Regardless of who vandalized Zeke, all of a sudden on Sunday night, ResLife was there to talk to us about Program Houses and theme housing. They explained to us the process by which and reasons why Zeke became co-ed. I even sensed feelings of sympathy and a genuine desire to help us out. But where was this guidance on Friday afternoon? I never even heard of theme housing until our dorm was trashed. Unfortunately, the message was “write letters and organize petitions and we will ignore you, but trash your dorm, costing us money, and now you have our attention.”
Know that our community does not condone the events of that Friday night and Saturday morning, nor will we accept responsibility for this destruction; however, as a result of this vandalism, we are finally starting to see some results. We are being presented with new avenues of action and new promises that our community may not be disbanded after all. Unfortunately, these newfound benefits have come at a price, both to the Zeke community (whose reputation has been further marred), and to the College, which must pay for the damages. Perhaps this could have been avoided if the action and attention we, the Zeke community, have craved since September was provided before disaster struck instead of during the aftermath.
–Ryan O. Catignani
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