The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Flames of The Torch

After the recent on-campus rape, Residence Life and Public Safety decided to screw all the first floor windows shut in the Residence Village, a knee-jerk reaction to an awful tragedy.

The policy was first implemented between Sept. 30 and Oct. 2.

When asked for her reaction on the decision to screw the windows shut, senior Heather Stein responded, “Oh god! Ridiculous.”

This week, University maintenance workers unscrewed the windows open as anti Residence Life resentment reached a possible all-time high throughout the Residence Village. Signs hanging in the windows of the Residence Village read, “Thanks for the oxygen,” “One for the good guys,” and “Jose’ Rodriguez is the man.”

“It was the smartest thing I’ve seen Res. Life do in a while,” senior Heather Stein said.

Jose Rodriguez, the interim director of Residence Life, said, “Obviously, the decision was made to bolt them (the first floor windows) because students were using them to come in.”

This raises the question of proper reaction. The windows were screwed shut because students were using them as ways into the Residence Halls, yet this had been going on for a while before the rape. The rape, not the students’ abuse of broken windows, is the real reason why the windows were bolted shut, as the decision came immediately after the rape.

The weightiest problem in screwing shut the windows is the problem of misdirected punishment, not stuffy rooms or fire hazards, or mere inconvenience.

To screw the windows shut is to punish the students.

The students, however, had no criminal role in the rape.

As Rodriguez said, “It was determined that no one could be held responsible since we could not tell which specific window was used or pinpoint one person. We spoke to students in the area and could not form any definitive conclusions.”

Rodriguez added that the men that committed and abetted the rape, who are not St. John’s students, could have entered DaSilva Hall without the assistance of any residence students.

So the question remains. Is this about punishing students for tampering with the windows, as Rodriguez claims, or is this about protecting the students? The latter would be far more logical.

The other problem in the reason behind punishment, as bolting the windows shut leads to a slue of other problems, from climate control, to illness, to student-body morale.

The balance between safety and punishment, or quality of life, is a complex one seen even in national politics.

Opening the windows was necessary, though the decision makes it obvious that the windows were bolted only because of the rape, and admits that the decision was rash and reactionary.

“We don’t rest with any one plan. We’re always reviewing what we do and seeing how plans work in different areas, “Rodriguez said.

We can only hope that they stick with this one.

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