Dear Endicott Community,
During the past 10 weeks I have battled pneumonia, and I had a very difficult time regaining my strength. While I continued to work, I spent more time than usual resting and, on occasion, watching basketball and baseball on TV. I also read many letters from students and parents who are asking for special consideration and exceptions of College rules for various reasons. Now, some of these reasons certainly have merit, but others I feel are asking for a bit too much flexibility and special treatment.
Watching the NCAA basketball tournament and spring baseball while reading these letters got me thinking more about rules. Are sports not governed by rules, just as we all are in our daily lives? Rules are in place to make sure all are treated fairly and so that we all know exactly what is expected of us.
I realized that there is not as much difference as you might think between asking for special consideration with housing, food services, or parking at school, or asking to be given four strikes instead of three while up at bat. If I were to grant some of these requests, it would be like watching a referee award three points for a single free throw just because the player asked for it. Imagine how the other players would feel about that, and you can see how many things I have to consider when I respond to requests for rule-bending.
In sports, rules and penalties exist to keep everyone on an even playing field, to not give any players an unfair advantage, to protect the referees, and to keep play safe. Similar, too, are our rules on campus. To students and families they may seem arbitrary or disagreeable, but I promise that each one has been made with the utmost consideration, and in many cases years of learning how to best accomplish things with the most fairness and least amount of confusion.
In the next few weeks students will be going through room draw – always a high-stress time. We have put in place a fair and honest process that attempts to make room draw as smooth and agreeable as possible, but there will inevitably be hiccups in such a complicated procedure.
Our rules take into consideration credits so that upper division students get preference; there is a nine credit gap so that underclassmen can’t get into senior housing. For those of us who don’t like these rules, I apologize, but they are in place for legitimate and important reasons. In the past few weeks I have received a number of emails and letters, some from well-meaning parents and students, and even from one grandfather, asking for special consideration. As we move towards room draw, think about the policies and procedures that were established to make it as fair and equitable as possible. Remember that once room draw is over, there are opportunities for adjustments if necessary.
Another request I get over and over is to opt out of the dining plans, and the answer is almost unequivocally no. We have policies about meal plans that need to be respected - there is logic behind those plans. I am very proud of Sodexo and the food that is served in the Callahan Center - the quality is great and often it is prepared to order. It is a much better system than exists at many colleges our size!
I think it is time for us as a College, and the students and families, to recognize that we have thought through the policies and procedures to the best of our abilities and we expect the students to follow the rules. Individuals may not be happy with specific rules, it’s true, and I wish that weren’t the case. But I trust in these rule to help keep everyone happier as a community and I will continue to do my best to faithfully enforce them.
So please follow the process. Follow the principles that guide any college community. Make the rules work for you, but don’t ask for them to be bent. Because if you are able to bend the rules, then I want to be able to bend paying taxes and not have to pay for my speeding tickets. What kind of world would that be? It may sound like a good idea, but we would all quickly learn that the rules that govern our society at every level exist for real reasons.
Thank you for listening. I am asking for your help and support. I am asking for your trust. And most of all I am asking that those of you considering making special requests remember that you are 1 of 3,000 students who all deserve equal opportunities.
Richard E. Wylie