Tuesday, April 20, 2004

A Tale of Zero Tolerance at a Lutheran University
Can we talk?

Colleges and universities have long held that they act in loco parentis (in the stead of parents) as far as underage students living on campus are concerned. I don't know about your college experience (if you had one), but something happened to my nineteen year-old niece over last weekend that has my blood boiling (you know, like Georgie Dubya Porgie's blood got to a boil over eeeevil-dewars and terr-ists? ... something like that, but angrier.) I got to thinking about my experience at the very same Lutheran university more than 30 years ago. The tale:

My sister, who is today marking six years since the accidental death of her twelve year-old son, called me last night. She said not only is this the Bad Month, but she got another "incoming" with a call from her ex about my niece, her daughter.

It seems there was a disturbance in her dorm on Saturday night one floor below hers. The university cops were called, and then the county cops. Apparently the powers that be and the cops were not satisfied with merely putting down the disturbance. The county cops then went door to door in the dorm through all the floors, knocking on doors.

As it so happened my niece and her roomate (and a couple friends earlier) were having a few beers in their room. Knock, knock, knock. My niece went to the door. The cops asked her if she was drinking. She said, "yes". Oy. There is no drinking allowed in the dorm. She is nineteen. The cops brought out their handy breathalyzer. (seems she blew .02) The cops took my niece and her roommate out of the dorm -- under arrest -- handcuffed them, and took them to the county lockup.

Anyone who knows me knows what I said to my sister at this point in the story, and the decibel level at which I said it. I said: "HEY!!! The cops were chumming for a bust. No probable cause to knock on the door. Illegal, illegal, illegal!!! Nazis!!!! Fascists!!!!!" (mea culpa -- for the Godwin's law infraction)

Their friends gathered money and bailed them out. The RA at the dorm gave my niece a referral to the university law school for representation... the nerve, probably the same bozo who called in the county mounties. Fascist!

I told my sister to get my niece a decent attorney, and more shall be revealed. My niece was sitting on her bed in her dorm room. Had probably consumed two beers ... quietly, no disturbance, no driving. But illustrious university has a "zero tolerance" policy about drugs and alcohol.

I remember puking on many curbs and lawns at illustrious university more than 30 years ago when every frat house had a kegger every weekend, and drunk frosh girls got raped every other week. Some of the illustrious university's administrators are probably my age, alumni, who plyed frosh coeds with booze in order to get laid.

I'm so incensed I can think of little else. My sister has given me the nod to talk to my niece about the United Police State of America. The only good thing I can see to come of this is that it's better she learn now how things really are.

An old Firesign Theatre skit had the lines: "Ask the cop on the corner ... ask the cop that's knocking at your front door... go ahead, ask him: Mr. Policeman, what makes America great?"

Just when I think the place where I was born can't get any weirder, any more insane and dangerous, something like this happens. And so I can make a completed circle of this rant, here a link to a site on the madness of zero tolerance - their articles index.

End Zero Tolerance

Thanks for your "ears".