We’ve all been through it. Like Katniss and Peeta in dystopian folklore, the Registration Games that we all go through every semester takes place in a stressful, student-eat-student world, where allegiances dissipate and it’s everyone for themselves. Navigating this treacherous terrain can be exacting, but some students have decided to take matters into their own hands.
Just last week, 19 students at Baruch College were implicated in a script-hacking scandal, and are now being faced with the possibility of a harsh punishment — including suspension or expulsion, according to an email about the incident sent to Baruch students. The culprits (who are yet to be named) have been charged with creating a script that would auto-register them for classes whenever a seat became available. For college students who know all too well about the perils of registration, this move struck most of the student population as ingenious.
However, despite their adoring legions of supporters, the students violated the Baruch College code of ethics and, as a result, are facing punitive disciplinary measures.
I say, let the hackers breathe.
First off, can we really blame them? Class registration is a unforgiving place. For students who work or have other commitments, landing a class at the right time can be the difference between graduating on time or late. Frankly, behind midterms and finals, these may be the most stressful hours of a college student’s life.
Now, it is important to acknowledge that what they did was wrong. Colleges set up their registration procedures in order to make sure that it is fair for everyone, and they invariably put a lot of time into this. Subverting the college laws and creating your own system that gives you a upper hand over 99% of the school population is wrong and they should be reprimanded accordingly.
But suspension or expulsion? That seems a bit harsh.
Most of my peers believe that these kids should be praised for their ingenuity. While most students who deal with registration issues take their qualms to Facebook and spout strongly worded statuses at the college, at least these students were proactive enough to come up with a solution. Isn’t that what college is supposed to be about? Thinking on our feet, coming up with our own ideas and becoming independent thinkers?
This case isn’t an anomaly either. Just last month in Canada, Ahmed Al-Khabaz, a computer science major at Dawson College in Montreal, was expelled after he discovered a major flaw in his school’s security system. While working on a mobile app for the school, Al-Khabaz discovered that due to some “sloppy coding,” anyone could access the personal information of over 25,000 students. He alerted the school and was subsequently expelled for his actions. There was silver lining for Al-Khabaz, however, as he was later offered a job by the same tech company who created the software for the school.
Colleges should flip these issues into positives and use it to their benefit. These students should be allowed to work with some of the college’s tech departments to ensure that others cannot create these scripts. Simply alienating these students who are obviously quite brilliant is not the right way to go.
Sure, what they did was wrong and there needs to be some measures put in place, but it goes to show that — instead of toiling away in some rudimentary prerequisite class that admittedly does nothing to help the student — putting them in an environment where they can practice what they’re interested in would benefit everyone.
Sadly, it leads back to what may be a crucial flaw in the education system. Are colleges just becoming a place where mediocrity and conformity are revered? Or should students who think outside the box be celebrated instead? It seems that we chastise the ones we should be praising.
Powered by Facebook Comments