By Elizabeth Staudt, Nashville, TN, Senior—In the final two weeks for the fall 2012 semester, two bomb threats cleared out Holt and Grote halls. A bomb threat on Tuesday of finals week was followed by a fire alarm barely thirty minutes after the “all clear” signal had been given. In light of these events, I feel compelled to write this letter.
As a transfer student, I was surprised to hear my friends joking about one or two bomb threats being called in every semester. This was a very uncommon experience at my former school. In fact, it only happened once in four years spent there at another publicly run state school. That observation combined with the fact that Holt, Grote and the EMCS are the primary targets to most threats have led me to one conclusion. I’m sad to say that there must be certain science majors at UTC that are still completely immature and, apparently, in the throes of puberty.
I cannot blame the science departments for offering courses outside the realm of reasonable difficulty. In my time here, I have come to know many of the professors and office staff in the biology, chemistry and geology departments. The courses offered are certainly comparable to those offered at other universities and the fact that a biology degree was so easily obtained when divorced from the necessary general education requirements are the reasons I pursued my degree here instead of elsewhere.
Apparently, there are a select few science majors that do not feel similarly, however. These are the students suspected of calling in empty bomb threats and pulling fire alarms under false pretenses. I am here to tell you that this immature behavior is completely unjustified. These threats consistently happen around mid-terms or finals indicating that you, the guilty parties, are reacting to an overwhelming amount of stress and lashing out like a child. You must therefore believe that there are no consequences for your terrorist actions that could be worse than the possibility of failing a test or course.
This mindset is completely selfish. The police and emergency workers who faithfully arrive and do their jobs with each threat could be using their talents more effectively elsewhere. Each of the four fire trucks that came to Holt in response to the aforementioned fire alarm might have been needed to work a car accident or house fire, but, in your juvenile mind, those emergencies must rank below that final you forgot to study for. Heaven forbid, human lives the emergency workers might have saved could be the price paid for those extra hours or days of study time—extra time that you probably won’t use effectively anyway for, if you had been managing your time well, those extra moments would be unnecessary.
Were a true emergency to occur, it would probably be more tragic than it should be due to the desensitizing effect of repeated threats. When evacuated, students and staff now linger outside the threatened buildings like sheep accustomed to the scent of a wolf. Interrupted exams are given on sidewalks while lectures continue across the road in the Confederate cemetery. In the event of an actual explosion, the harm done to these “evacuated” people would be the fault of you children who call in false threat after threat.
It is obvious that you have no respect for anyone outside of yourself. No, not the emergency workers nor that teacher you keep pressuring to grade faster without recognizing that these same threats interrupt their precious little time that is available to grade. You cannot even respect your peers. If you knew the amount of studying they did to complete the same exams in the same courses, studying which you yourself obviously did not do, then you would understand that an interrupted exam damages their grades.
College is a buffer between high school and the real world. Now, more than ever before, it is the time to learn that there are consequences to your actions. I am fully aware that public schooling below the college level is no longer allowed to punish their students with realities such as failed or repeated classes, but in the real world, there is no calling in of bomb threats in response to your boss demanding you finish a report. That would merely result in loss of work hours and then the same looming deadline when you return to work after an empty few hours.
Perhaps, this is how UTC fails its students. UTC graciously reorganizes it schedule to limit the number of students affected, but perhaps it should merely delay the whole day. The only extra study time to be gained would then be the minimal time it takes to clear the buildings. Then everything would resume and continue later into the same night.
If you find that you cannot succeed at the course of study you have chosen, by all means change your major. Perhaps you should become a business major and learn the level of professionalism they apparently teach as is evidenced by their lack of empty threats. If you still cannot handle the stresses of college, as I suspect you cannot, content yourself with returning to your parents’ house, for they are the only ones who might be willing to take care of a fully grown child such as yourself.