Letter to the Editor: What Happened to Being Friends?

Meghan Nadzam 10.23.20
Braeden Bowen (10.25.20)

By Lexi Opdycke (’23)

One of my favorite things about Wittenberg University is our tight-knit and friendly community. As a freshman last year, I was graciously welcomed into the Wittenberg family. Students, staff and professors were there to help whenever I needed it. I felt appreciated, valued and important. This university and my peers cared about me.

I knew things would be different when I returned to campus this fall. The changes took time to adjust to, but overall, I was happy to be back. I was confident in Wittenberg’s community to get through this pandemic together, but nothing could have prepared me for the feeling of betrayal I felt from some of my peers.

After a few months on campus, I am worried our community is slipping away. My concern is caused by the Wittenberg anonymous tipping service provided on campus: WittTip. With the program, students can anonymously tip off anyone they think is not following social distancing guidelines. At first, I thought this wouldn’t be a big deal. But after a few weeks, it became very clear that some students were out to get others.

I’m not talking about the Wittenberg police busting massive college parties. Those don’t exist on campus anymore. I am talking about the Wittenberg police being called to handle small gatherings in dorms, noise complaints or too many people together outside.

The environment on this campus has become hostile. The house next to you is unwinding after a long week by playing a game together? Just WittTip them! You saw four people walk into the dorm room next to yours? WittTip them! Students are gathering in the hallway to talk, and someone has their mask pulled down? Time to call the police!

We are completely abandoning our friendly campus environment. If you see someone not wearing a mask, just politely tell them to put it back on. If the people next to you are being a little loud, knock on their door and ask them to quiet down. In dorms, we have Residential Advisors (RAs) that are more than willing to break up gatherings, without it going on your record. Our first instinct should not be to call the police on each other.

To the sophomore, junior and senior Wittenberg students who have experienced pre-corona Wittenberg, how do we want our first-year students to feel on campus? Do we want them to be nervous the Wittenberg police will knock on their doors if they try to make friends?

Remember there are other steps before you WittTip another student. Please be kind to each other and bring back our friendly atmosphere on this campus. We are all in this together.

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