Last semester several notable events put in motion a series of disciplinary actions taken against the USC social scene, ultimately culminating in The Row being placed on social probation.
In addition to this official sentence, the university continues to enforce significantly stricter policies than in years’ past regarding partying and drinking. The Dept. of Public Safety shuts down anything reminiscent of a party and the university recently reminded Greeks that parties are allowed only from Friday at 3 p.m. to Sunday at 5 p.m. even if the probation that was enacted last semester is lifted.
Last year’s events, and the subsequent disciplinary action taken by the university, received a lot of media attention, ranging from Jezebel.com, a site in the Gawker media network, to the Huffington Post. Though the policies handed down by the university might minimize the risk of drinking-related hazards, putting the spotlight on this aspect of USC only generates unnecessary negative attention toward the university, which, in turn, detracts from USC’s appeal as a respected university.
With an incredibly diverse student body, expansive array of courses of study, hundreds of organizations and clubs, prominent alumni network and highly ranked academics, it is not hard to see why USC is one of the most sought-after colleges in the nation.
But what really sets USC apart from the crowd is its students’ ability to balance thriving academic careers with equally thriving social lives. Essentially, USC is known as a place to learn and be challenged academically while also having a “typical” college experience. In return, USC students achieve success and form an accomplished, involved and illustrious alumni network because of this well-rounded education, which includes social and life skills in addition to a premier academic experience.
USC alumni do not achieve success simply because they are smart; rather, they achieve success because they are intelligent, outgoing, confident and socially adept.
With the recent social sanctions, however, many members of the Greek community are feeling increasingly resentful toward the administration — a sentiment that would inevitably be felt by any prospective students visiting or inquiring about the university.
Furthermore, not only do the strict policies foster skepticism among prospective students, but they also promote pent-up resentment among current students that ultimately could backfire, resulting in irresponsible behavior once students are allowed to go to The Row.
Is the university attempting to erase any party culture from future generations of USC students? If so, these efforts are, for the most part, in vain. If or when the social moratorium is lifted all of these bottled up desires might come out in full force, leading to a scene perhaps even worse than last year’s “Black Monday.”
College students like to have fun, and for many this includes drinking. Regardless of how many parties DPS shuts down or how many sanctions are imposed on The Row, students who want to drink and party will find a way to do so — regardless of probations. And the vast majority of these students will do so safely and responsibly.
Admissions to the university are becoming more and more competitive, directly correlating to an increasingly intelligent student body. The academic achievements of the student body more than merit a little more social freedom.
Laura Burdine is a junior majoring in print and digital journalism. She is also a member of the Delta Gamma sorority.