VIEWPOINT: MU athletes aren’t being the difference

Be the difference.

This is a mantra that influenced my decision to come to Marquette and many of the things I have done while attending school here.

I have always had a lot of respect for the Marquette student body as a group who is passionate about important issues, lives out a mission of caring for others and “being the difference.”

Recently, at a Sexual Violence Awareness Week event I was reminded that this is not the case for all. Many of the students at this event focusing on “Creating a Campus that Cares,” the slogan for the week, were athletes.

Several groups of these athletes, particularly men’s and women’s basketball and men’s soccer, were incredibly disrespectful as they spoke through the presentation and made many inappropriate comments.

These athletes are Marquette students, just like the rest of us, but that evening I felt as if the mission of this university meant nothing to them.

So many people hold student athletes in an elevated position because of their talent and prestige.

I have a hard time respecting people who cannot provide respect for others. These students represent Marquette University on a national level. I would think that courteous conduct at any event would not be asking too much.

This event specifically was one that focused on preventing sexual violence and supporting survivors of sexual violence, an important topic for any student leader or role model to learn about.

I don’t know why, but for some reason I just assumed that Marquette athletes broke the stereotype of college athletes — that they too, like other Marquette students, strove to be men and women for others and participate in our Marquette community. Brushing off important issues and neglecting to acknowledge others around you is not fulfilling either of these.

These attitudes aren’t only present at mandated speakers but I’ve noticed them in classes, in the cafeteria and all over campus.

These athletes do not want to participate in our Marquette community, but instead choose to separate themselves, strive for lower moral standards and carry on as if they were at any other university.

But we are not at any other university. We are at Marquette University. In fact, we are Marquette University and being a member of our community means more than showing up where you’re told and putting up with whoever you have to.

Being Marquette means that you reflect the respect that is offered to you, that you care for your peers and community members and that you work to “be the difference,” even if that means learning how to support a survivor of sexual violence at 6 p.m. on a Wednesday night.

I still plan on buying my Fanatics tickets and cheering in the student section at the Bradley center, but my motivation for yelling, “We are Marquette!” has changed.

I will be shouting this cheer at the top of my lungs this year in the hopes that every member of the Marquette community will hear it and think to themselves about what this means to them. Now the ball is in your court. What will you do as a Marquette representative and community member to be the difference?

Erin Shawgo is a junior in the College of Arts & Science

  • Sherry

    I would just like to say that you have the wrong idea about these athletes. How many of them do you actually know? I think that if you take a look at your overall study body you will see much more disrespectful things happening. I have heard that the athletes were seated by the academic advisers and athletic directors and I can assure you they were not being disrespectful during this meeting. I believe that as a “respected” member of your University you would at least take a step back and not be so quick to judge. The comment about them “striving for lower moral standards” is indeed a joke in my opinion. Once again, take a look at your student body. I can pretty much guarantee that you don’t see these athletes out there making idiots out of themselves during the week/weekends because they are so dedicated in becoming better athletes and are working hard to bring respect to your school. So I believe you are the one striving for lower moral standards with judging and making a mockery out of your newspaper. Jealousy must be an issue in this article. I would like to see you put in hours upon hours into your sport while trying to maintain your grades.

  • Desiree

    Great points, Erin. I was at the event, too, and I was appalled at the level of disrespect shown by many student athletes. On the other hand, I know many student athletes are not like that–many were actually quite attentive and respectful. It’s just a shame that such a large number, still, were so rude throughout the entire hour long event.