Pay up or shut up: the responsibility is yours

by Beacon Staff • September 12, 2007

Student loses housing.

Our view:

An unfortunate consequence of irresponsibility.,A future freshman recently had the dreams of her first-choice college yanked out from under her-sending her packing to the University of Connecticut. The reason? She didn't pay the remainder of her tuition bill on time.

No one can deny that this is an extremely unfortunate situation that no student should have to go through during the stressful month before his or her first semester of college. Emerson has also clearly overextended itself in terms of housing this year. It is even more unfortunate that the college seems to have acted insensitively to the student who lost her housing.

In the face of all this, it would be easy to blame the college for the situation, but objectively speaking, Emerson did not deviate from its standard billing procedure. Every student that matriculates has the same window of time to pay up. When the student did not pay the tuition bill on time, she was penalized according to college policy. For the student to attempt to seek reparations is to ignore her own responsibility in the situation.

This is an all-too-common instance of an Emerson student denying responsibility in such a situation.

As reported in the March 29, 2007 issue of The Beacon, a student who had her laptop, iPod and mobile phone stolen from her bag after leaving it unattended in the library attempted to blame the school for the loss of her property. She claimed that the school should increase ID swipes and security in the library. Another unfortunate situation. Another refusal to accept any blame.

Should the college be expected to monitor every student's tuition bill? Each student's property? Asking the college to shadow its students and protect them from their own mistakes is entirely unreasonable.

As a new class of freshmen enter Emerson, it is clear what can be learned from these circumstances: no one is going to take care of you, except you. The first steps into college are the first steps into real independence. Paying a bill and keeping an eye on a laptop are simple, adult responsibilities. Asking a new student to monitor these responsibilities is not out of line.

Students at this college are here for an education in dozens of fields. Budding cinematographers, speech pathologists and news anchors roam the hallways, but all of the professional training in the world won't be enough if a sense of personal responsibility is found lacking. Forget to pay your electric bill, and yes, you will find yourself sitting in the dark. If Emerson cannot impart that lesson, then all the rest is useless.