It's More Than Just Grass

The Student is Not the Client:
It’s More Than Just Grass
Anthony Harris
Opinions Section Editor

About a couple of weeks ago, the weather was absolutely beautiful.  The first Hump Wednesday of the new semester was moving from inside Archer to outside Kilgore.  Classes had ended for most everyone on campus.  The sun was out.  I was considerably less grouchy.  I left Brawley Hall to head to my room and get my Frisbees.  I was going to play in my grass.

My fellow angry columnist, Alexander Brown, and some other friends of mine were tossing Frisbees for a good ten minutes before other brothers, following our example, started tossing a football in front of Graves.  Thirty minutes into our festivities, a campus police officer approached us and shooed us off the grass.

I informed him of page 108 of the Morehouse College student handbook stating we were allowed to use the grass.  He wanted evidence.  I told him I didn’t carry the student handbook with me.  We left the yard.

I left and printed the necessary pages of the handbook from the school website.  I approached the officer about five minutes later.  He directed me to the lieutenant, who directed us to the chief.  We spoke with him and were informed to speak with Dr. Rome of Student Services.

We did.  We got the normal “send me an email” response.  I sent it.  I haven’t gotten an answer.  I was in student services the following day around 9:30.  Neither he nor Dr. Osiris were in.  I tried later that day.  They were in meetings.  I admittedly didn’t try showing up again nor sending another email.  Still, the email I sent has yet been replied.

To the many people I have told this story, they saw this to be a rather small issue.  Many of my friends and even my own parents have said, “It’s only grass.”  Yet I, pessimist and idealist that I am, see a series of much larger issues here.

The first thing that I saw in something this small was an issue of equality.  In every flaw I see in Dear Old Morehouse, I see this first.  Since my freshman year, I have always posed the question, “If white people can play on their grass, why can’t we?”  Why is our grass the living room that we only use when the important people come over?  Am I not paying for my own grass?  Why is the grass so nice at Emory but they still play guitar and Frisbee and hacky sack and picnic and read and party and everything else that doesn’t happen here?  What are we not doing?

In a school that has dedicated itself on being the best, why do we treat ourselves as second or third class people?  We’re not willing to put in the effort to get the facilities for which we paid?  We’re not willing to expect the physical plant to actually maintain grass that’s used instead of just pretty green carpet?

This led me to my second point: an inequality with rhetoric.  There is a huge problem with our mindless platitudes.  What we say about ourselves is clearly not what we display.  The Morehouse College student handbook states on page 108, “The campus grounds are reserved primarily for informal use… by students, faculty, staff and guests of the College.”  If this is so, why does common practice go against the written rules?

If we are the best college in the world as we claim, the Harvard of the South, why was there no power to half of the campus last week when our transistor exploded on the all-important Thursday of Founders’ Week?  Why are the Writing Lab renovations not yet completed although this issue of the paper says they are soon to come?  Why is the Computer Science department not yet accredited?  Why was I eating food from the cafeteria in the ill-fitted Kilgore twice last week?

We have not made the proper strides to make this place the best school ever.  We have not made the strides to accomplish tasks better than any man to precede us or to ever follow us.  We have not truly followed the platitudes we have inattentively promulgated.  We are insufficient and in denial.

Morehouse College is constantly reaching for a crown that we as students and as men must strive to reach.  We say this, we know this Thursday after Thursday, and we must live up to this.  We must take strides to get full value from our tuition.  We must ensure that our facilities are equal to that of our other collegiate brothers and sisters whether they be across the street, across the highway, or across the nation.  We must act.

And we must walk on our $28,000 grass.


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