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The ethics of parietals

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, March 3, 2009

This past weekend a friend of mine committed one of the worst offences imaginable – he broke parietals – with his sister! Traveling all the way up from B.C to see her brother, it was too much for her to be allowed to stay on her brother’s futon. The nerve! So at 2:43 in the morning, the R.A had called in back-up as he and the Assistant Rector laid siege to the room until the outlaws surrendered themselves. The typical arguments were then presented as my friend tried in vane to ascertain exactly the true purpose of parietals. Is it not to “prevent guys from hooking up with girls?” How could that prevent him from putting up his sister for a night? If you asked these guys, the answer was no – it’s apparently “an arbitrary end to the night.” If that is truly the case I can not understand any justification of this Universities policy.

I would argue that any action to restrict student’s rights should be taken only as a last resort. If students are looking for an arbitrary end to the night, then why not designate special dorms or sections that have parietals. Of course this isn’t a viable idea because the demand for parietals would almost completely vanish, and the school would be forced to acknowledge what truly drives this outmoded rule: religious fanaticism. I say this because the enforcement of parietals is not done with any sort of subjectivity. True, you shouldn’t subjectively interpret how to enforce laws, but when you start legislating morality there needs to be room for discretion in case of extenuating circumstances – housing your sister for a night is different than having sex with your girlfriend!

And to the RAs who enforce this policy that claim they are “simply doing their jobs,” I am truly sorry. The University, which claims to instill a sense of ethical beliefs in its students, has failed you. Instead of coming into a situation with an open mind, you carry out orders as mindlessly as totalitarian forces once did. You enforce rules because that’s what you are told to do, ignoring any shades of gray in the process. Would Jesus not want us to shelter our own family, even strangers? Is there not any sense of hospitality to be found in the bible? Until these same people wake up to their senses, they need to understand that they cannot command my respect, and I ask that each of you to demand the same.

James Zumot


Keough Hall

Mar. 2