Sunday, June 24, 2018
Opinion

University of Tampa off-campus parties a teaching moment

I'd like to think that I'm no fuddy-duddy, which by merely using the term fuddy-duddy probably establishes my bona fides as indeed a fuddy-duddy. Still . . .

As a young man in college many years ago, I certainly participated in more than my fair share of unrestrained partying. To be sure, there is nothing capturing the college experience more than waking up on a Saturday morning smelling like a keg of beer and trying to remember the name of . . ., well let's just leave it at that.

So I'm certainly sensitive to the needs of all those scholars at the University of Tampa who feel the call to Budweiser — and heed it with abandon.

Still . . .

It seems that when UT students complete their weekly intellectual rigor examining the works of Shakespeare, the philosophy of Duns Scotus, the foreign policy brilliance of George Kennan, the economics savvy of Adam Smith and the scientific acumen of Stephen Hawking they love to get completely, totally, thoroughly plastered, schnookered, loaded and not to mention 10 sheets to the wind.

Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. As my late father told me when I went off to school — study hard, try to make something of yourself, but don't forget to have a good time. Yessir. My father was a wise man.

Still . . .

It appears the UT revelry has impinged on the neighborhoods near campus where many students live and entertain their guests, which can number into the ribald hundreds on some occasions.

Most recently, residents of North Hyde Park, which is really an attempt to seem trendy when the area should be more properly referred to as South West Tampa, or perhaps Near Downtown, or maybe Lower Tampa Heights, or perhaps Hillsborough River Estates, complained about hordes of malt-fueled staggering UT matriculators converging on the streets to imbibe followed by serial public urinating, mailbox assault, mass littering and various stages of lewd behavior.

It is probably fair to say these are not gatherings of the Phi Beta Kappa crowd.

If you think all the Spartan bacchanalia is somewhat scandalous, imagine if you were a parent coughing up roughly $35,000 a year to send Muffin and/or Troy to UT, only to discover your tots were behaving badly enough to make Animal House look like Goodbye Mr. Chips and it was all captured for posterity on YouTube no less?

No one could argue UT students aren't entitled to blow off steam and yes, act supremely stupid now and then. That's one of the unspoken reasons to go to college — to make mistakes, to learn from them, to grow up.

Still . . .

UT was once saddled with the unfortunate reputation as the destination campus for the academically challenged, but financially gifted student.

But over the years, the school has worked hard to raise its standards to demand more intellectual rigor and responsibility among its students. (Full disclosure: I have taught at UT as an adjunct instructor and found my students to be bright, engaged and diligent in their studies.)

But it only takes a few (or perhaps in this case, a few hundred) knuckleheads to undermine a frivolous image that the school has worked so hard to escape from.

UT should use this issue as a teachable moment for its students — that having fun and throwing a party and being a good neighbor are not mutually exclusive concepts.

Part of growing up is a student acknowledging the time has come for less higher and more education.

Comments
Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Itís hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bayís two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. Thatís the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney generalís misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect ó prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Floridaís environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18