The Blame Game

By Mairead Kiernan

Sorry for the hiatus, everyone! I went home on vacation last week and was so wrapped up in family fun time that I didn’t have time to write. Now I’m back and ready to rock.

Now no, I’m not talking about the government shutdown with my title. Instead I’m referring to an interaction I found out about when I got back to campus after vacation. One of my CAs insisted that we have dinner together, and she told me about another CA who told a coworker he was going to hell because he hadn’t been going to church regularly this semester.

Yeah, read that again and let it sink in. Or maybe you’re not surprised. In retrospect, I probably should not have been as shocked as I was in the moment. As I tried to feel out the situation from this student’s perspective, it became apparent that this was not an isolated incident at all, but just the first time it was coming to our attention. When I asked if the CA who was talking to me had addressed the situations with the first CA, she explained to me that the young lady’s justification was, “Well we’re from Texas. This is okay here.”

I wasn’t as shocked about this statement because unfortunately, it seems like a lot of bad (re: ignorant) behavior from my students is blamed on being from Texas. When I moved here, I knew I was moving to a very conservative environment compared to my home and undergrad in Upstate New York. That’s not to say I live in a world where I think everyone is forward thinking and thinks before they open their mouth; no, but where I’m from people are a bit more considerate about other’s stances on a given issue.

As I sit here and write this post, I feel a little like I’m throwing my student under the bus, which was not my intention. She is not the only student who I’ve heard this kind of blaming from at all. “Well this is Texas, you can like it or leave,” seems to be the overarching mantra whenever someone challenges the norm. My surprise in this situation stems from the fact that for the most part, our students are pretty willing to be challenged in some of their thinking. To hear that this interaction happened with a student I’ve worked with for two years, I felt like I’d failed her as a supervisor.

In the grand scheme of things, I know that I’m not a bad supervisor at all. Some people are going to think what they’re going to think, and it isn’t my job to change someone’s way of thinking. With that being said, it is my job to make sure that all my staff members and students are comfortable in their living environment. I’m not directly supervising this student, so I wasn’t able to meet with her about the incident, but my understanding is that she acknowledged that her actions were not okay. I’m all about pride in where you’re from, but when you start to blame bad behavior on your location, it has to be addressed.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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1 comment :

  1. One of my friends was told he would go to hell by his fellow staff members. On the phone the other day he was telling me he knew of someone at his new school that something similar happened to. I'm pretty sure that this blog is about that same conversation we had on the phone.

    That friend of mine is Alex!


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