During Sunday’s historic evening, as thousands of united Americans took to the streets of Washington D.C., New York City and college campuses across the United States to revel in long overdue justice being brought to the terrorist murderer Osama bin Laden, Mercyhurst College Residence Life officials descended upon celebrations in student housing with a far more sinister agenda.
While the entire nation took a collective sigh of relief and banned together for the first time in 10 years, Residence Life set out to disband and shatter the glimmers of patriotic unity that had begun to emerge on our campus. Led by an AD, a posse of seven RAs patrolled the campus demanding people return to their dorms during quiet hours, searching apartments for harmless firecrackers and writing down names at a feverish pace, announcing, “You will be hearing from us.”
On campuses far more prestigious than our own, students and faculty joined together in a patriotic union to honor the memory of those lost during the tragedies of 9/11 and to show their support for our troops at home and abroad. Gatherings at Holy Cross, Notre Dame and Georgetown were endorsed and led by key religious and administrative figures. The occasion was viewed as an opportunity for the campus to grow together and heal spiritually as a community. These prestigious Catholic institutions held prayer services and sang together. While the country celebrated, the divided campus of Mercyhurst College lay in silence: a silence enforced by Residence Life that was broken only by a patriot’s fleeting firecracker snap or a passing car horn.
I am a proud American, and I have always been proud to be a student at Mercyhurst College until this moment. Those of you who rejoiced this past Sunday evening, I salute you. However, those of you who worked tirelessly into the night to thwart patriotic expressions, I condemn your unnecessarily oppressive actions. My fellow students and distinguished faculty, both American and international, we must remember and cherish those who have died to ensure the freedoms that we enjoy today. We must also support and appreciate those who continue to fight for these same freedoms. Let us strive to create and foster a profound sense of community here on campus. This is an element that is blatantly missing on our campus and something from which Mercyhurst could greatly benefit.
In closing, I would like to make a plea to all of you to reflect upon the recent events of the world. If you feel so compelled, which I am certain you will, then you should exercise your constitutional right to demonstrate the pride you have in our great nation. If the aforementioned prestigious Catholic colleges across the country are the measure by which we evaluate our academic worth, and they should be, then we, the faculty, students and especially Residence Life of Mercyhurst College, need to follow suit. Never again should our campus be silent while the United States of America celebrates victoriously.
God Bless America.