I’m sitting in a cafe finishing a paper, and I just had a really interesting conversation about Iraq with an off-duty Middletown Police officer who had been in the army. As he was leaving, he asked me
“Just out of curiosity, why is it that every time I have to come up to Wesleyan on a call I’ve got fifteen kids screaming at me asking for probable cause? I’ve got beyond a reasonable suspicion, I’ve got beyond probable cause, I most likely have eye-witnesses attesting to you fucking up, yet as soon as I get there I’ve got fifteen kids whipping out their cameraphones asking me for probable cause as I’m trying to get some kid into the cruiser. I ask “What are you, a fucking lawyer?” and the kid replies “Yeah!” to which I retort “You’d better show me your Bar card in the next 30 seconds or I’m booking you for impersonating an attorney.” Sometimes I wish Wesleyan was a closed campus. It would make my job a whole hell of a lot easier.”
I think the place of college in American society is largely that of a last gasp: you transgress whatever social taboos you feel comfortable transgressing that you haven’t up until that point, and at the end of it you go off to 5 or 6 figure jobs. Because of this, a whole lot of libertinism prevails, and this isn’t altogether unhealthy. But when people forget that they’re doing all of this in a residential context both with other students and with law-abiding locals, they’re apt to also forget that Discretion Is The Better Part of Valor and be stupid, drunk juvenile civic disruptions. (Just think of Beta on a friday night, freshmen puking in the bushes, singing along to Skynyrd at full volume. I don’t think many of us have a problem with being stupid, drunk or transressive, but when this becomes everyone’s problem, it sucks.) I think MPD cuts Wesleyan students a certain amount of slack, but students’ feeling of entitlement to public unlawful behavior grates after a while and discourages any looking-the-other-way. Be courteous to your law enforcement officers, and strive to not give them any reasons for coming to campus. Chances are they don’t want to be there.
(Do I believe this?)