RESPECT is all you need

I absolutely loved my experience in Rez. It’s safe to say that it was one of the happiest years of my life, and that is due in no small part to the superb atmosphere that is propagated by the skilled Dons/Floor/MORE fellows. For anybody who is unfamiliar with the system, it is built on two rules: 1. Respect, and 2. Dont F*ck with the fire equipment. Simple right? Within it though, students are allowed to try new things and really discover who they are going to be for the rest of their lives. An atmosphere that promotes growth is one that must necessarily allow mistakes, and that was one of the things that I loved the most about the system that we had- It allowed people to make mistakes in an environment that was forgiving and nourishing. Having a first year that allowed me to safely push my boundaries was a formative experience for me. Even the wide-eyed and naive me saw that, even though people are capable of making huge mistakes, they also (usually) grow from the experience. If stuff got completely out of hand, we had a expertly trained staff on hand to keep RESPECT the top priority. McGill Residences was formerly a bastion of positive community living and personal growth, but recent management changes have possibly put this whole thing in jeopardy.

A shout out here to Flo Tracy- without understatement, the nicest woman I’ve ever had the privilege of associating with. The system as it was is because of the shining role model that was lived through Flo, and everyone who had a good time in their residences owes her a massive debt of gratitude. Flo retired this year, and her replacement has been causing waves within the student community.

Daily link 1Daily link 2

I’m not a fan of repetition, but the gist of the problem is that students feel that the new management is cracking down on some of the ‘mistakes’ that we were formerly given the freedom to make. Specifically, it seems that the new management is exceedingly concerned with liability issues pertaining to drinking and/or drug use.  I cannot express my dissatisfaction at this change of heart, especially in light of the fabulous experience that I had going through rez. Rez is your home, even if it is only for a year, and an integral part of feeling at home is not feeling like a criminal when you do things that you are allowed to do (Now, for the sake of argument, I’m not talking about illegal drugs per say, as that has a whole host of other legal issues I’m not qualified to comment on), like, for example imbibing a friendly BEvERage (to quote a SSMU poster). It appears that the management strongly favours turning our homes into prisons, ‘cracking down’ on these behaviors that carry a slight risk of legal action. If we make it ‘illegal’ to drink, the change in the Rez culture will become one of paranoia- constantly trying to hide drinking from the fellows. When their job is making the environment safe, turning them into Prison Guards defeats the whole purpose, because that promotes an ‘us versus them’ attitude that doesn’t build trust or respect for McGill or Residences.

I seriously hope that the management reconsiders the attitude, because McGill currently has a system that is capable of churning out decent human beings. If we arrest the development of our first year students by making them criminals in their own home, then we have no right to complain when they never learn to behave responsibly and become a headache to Residences, McGill, and the Montreal community at large. You get what you wish for, and if management wishes to turn us into ‘minimally liable risks’, then we cease to be young adults. Flo understood the value of respect, and what I want from this new management is RESPECT FOR OUR RIGHTS AS ADULTS! I wouldn’t ask for anything less from anybody I know, and I think all students should call for the respect that they deserve from this management, which they seem to be trying to take away from us.

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~ by Andrew on March 30, 2009.

4 Responses to “RESPECT is all you need”

  1. I completely agree. This policy is only going to be effective at making first years think twice about living in rez and deterring the amazing people who have been floor fellows in the past from continuing or recommending it to their equally awesome friends. Rez is a home for some, but frankly, it’s also just a place to hang your hat for others, like myself. If I weren’t allowed to enjoy some wine or a few beers with some friends after a long day in what I very much saw to be my space, I would have told McGill to shove their astronomical rent and I would have lived in an apartment. So much of the true value of rez is the floor fellows, who have had the perfect balance of concern, knowledge and respect. Take that away and you basically have a McGill ghetto where people have to pay a huge amount and there’s a lot of binge drinking. So, yeah, you’d have the McGill Ghetto.

  2. You met the result of what happens when you treat college students like children. The fact is that yes, a lot of people enter rez sheltered, but others do not and no matter what the official rules are, you aren’t going to stop those two groups from interacting, and by hiding the things that first year college students do sure as hell won’t make them go away. McGill’s policy of “here is where you will be living, now fuck off” did more to help me grow up than any regulation could have.

  3. Please write to the Daily commentary section, Porritt and Mendelson themselves with this! You are AMAZING, Andrew. Well said.

  4. […] disclosure, I’m the current president of my Departmental association) really started with this post, which also got published in the daily (our local love-it-and-hate-it student […]

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