CAMPBELL: Learn first, complain second

I have heard that some people are unhappy. There’s been a negative buzz around campus this past week. Students returned to Marquette, and many are outraged at the revised alcohol policy. People feel it’s unfair, too strict or not specific enough. I’ve heard and overheard quite a few gripes. As much as I love a good rant session, I’m not so sure that this is a rant I can get behind. Obviously, Marquette felt a need to revise the alcohol policy. If students feel so strongly that it is unfair or overbearing, there are ways to go about stating those opinions besides just grumbling to your friends and choosing to get wasted, anyway.

If you are one of the many who disagree with the policy (or any policy, for that matter), there are several things you can do to get your opinions heard. Gandhi, a catalyst for social and governmental change, said, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”  This has been tweaked to “Be the change you want to see.” No matter the original quotation, the sentiment can be applied to the Marquette situation as well. It does not do any good to sit around and complain — that will achieve nothing. If you really care, change your tendencies toward complaining; get up and take action.

First, educate yourself. I can guarantee that university administrators will not take anyone seriously who has not read and understood the policy. It’s in the student handbook, which can be easily found online. Read through it a couple times. Take any questions you might have to your RA or your hall director. Really make an effort to understand the policy before you ask someone to change it.

Once you’ve done that, if you still feel something should be changed, write letters. Write letters to your hall director, to the Department of Public Safety, to the Office of Residence Life or your MUSG representatives. Write a letter to the editor of yours truly. We can’t guarantee those will be published, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. Voice your educated and informed opinion in a way that makes your points and does not offend others. The editorial board of this very newspaper published its informed, dissenting opinion with the new policy in last Monday’s paper. Instead of simply complaining, the board took time to research the policy and form an opinion and ask for specific changes. You never know who may be willing to listen to you if you speak up.

Finally, show Marquette that its student body is actually capable of following its policies. We haven’t done a great job of that so far, with 27 alcohol-related incidents in the first weekend of the semester alone. Don’t wait until you get caught to protest against the policy. This is probably not the most ideal situation for civil disobedience. Prove that we are able to abide by rules — and laws — that govern us. People will take you much more seriously if you abide by their policies in the first place.

I know what you’re thinking. “She’s an upperclasswoman of legal drinking age who no longer lives in the dorms, who does she think she is to tell me what to do?” And really, you’re right. But this course of action can be applied to any sort of regulation, policy or practice you find unfair. So my challenge to you, fellow Marquette students, is this: before you simply complain about anything, think through your complaint, educate yourself on the issue and then take action if you want to make a change. After all, Gandhi didn’t free India from British rule by sitting around and complaining to his friends.

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