If you speak your mind, you might be spouting angst while you’re marched off to detention. Or you could be fined. But be careful. You might even get demerits for foul language, and then what would you do if you’re kicked out of school? Rendered useless, I’m sure.
Students at Hinds Community College near Jackson, Mississippi, get punished for swearing.Yes, I said “college.” Yes, I said “swearing.”
According to a mid-May article published in Higher Ed, Scott Jaschik reported that students who are found being “flagrantly disrespectful, or who are using public profanity, cursing, and vulgarity” are all punishable with a twenty five dollar fine for a first offense. A fifty dollar fine follows for a second offense. Ok, so there’s not actually a “detention” you’d be carted off to at Hinds University, but there was a recent incident involving a student using a certain four letter word after getting a poor grade. His professor heard him. And then fined him. Oh, and charged him with flagrant disrespect.
Being that I was not there to witness this horrible indiscretion (I mean, a college student cussing? Egads!), I can’t exactly comment on how this entire thing was blown into/out of proportion, but I will say this: Punishing someone for saying something–that might hurt your feelings–is not ok. Hey, go check the United States Constitution. Look at what’s at the very top. So, now you’ve glanced at the First Amendment, hopefully focusing on the “Freedom of Speech” part, let’s continue. Yes, there are many, many ways a Freedom of Speech discussion can go, but for this case, let’s simply focus on the fact that young adults are using poor word choice to emphasize struggles in their lives. For instance, here, a bad grade. We’ve all done it. Uttered an explicative when you see a red 68 penned at the top of that Statistic’s test? Yes. Maybe the assignment was a paper, or a sociology project, but the point is: when we screw up, we release our woes with whatever comfortable habits we have. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, cussing is that release.
I’m not saying that cussing, swearing, (whatever) has any place in conversation, let alone professional conversation, but some people let the words flow. And some people accidentally let them slip.If the student in question was being rude, advancing toward the professor, and using threatening language along with the f-bomb he dropped, I could probably understand this fine business a little bit better. Yet, with what Jaschik’s gathered, that’s not the scenario I see happening.Granted, I might be wrong. I wasn’t there, remember? I can, however, see both sides of this speech issue.
Professors are finding it more and more difficult to manage a classroom as the newer generations fill their lecture halls. Jaschik spoke with W. Scott Lewis, the associate general counsel of Saint Mary’s College, in Indiana, and president of the Association for Student Conduct Administration, who said that societal trends appear to be related to an increase in student rudeness. Mentioning entitlement as one of the main issues, Lewis said professors do not think they are allowed to challenge the rude behavior.Call me crazy, but I’ve always considered the college environment a place for maturity. Usually, those in college are the ones who want to be there, so there’s a different mindset amongst its students. We’re paying for it, so we should probably man up and do the work, right? If a person is working their best and their hardest, chances are they are going to be a mature individual as well (there are outliers for every example, people. I definitely know immature people in college, don’t get all huffy).I don’t see a mature person cussing out their professor about a bad grade. I can see a mature person cussing about the bad grade once they leave the lecture hall, though.
The whole reason to enforce “fines” for profanity tells me that instructors at Hinds University are seeing problems with students being rude. But the higher educational community was side swiped by the issue. (if you care, it’s in the fourth paragraph)
So, with people surprised by the policy, obviously Hinds is not being very smart about updating their rules, and they haven’t had to deal with this problem in a while. This all makes me wonder. What do you think your school’s policies are? Is there anything you feel you should contest?
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