While walking through the beautiful and pleasant Tyler Junior College campus, it may not come as a surprise when people behind you begin yelling profanity to other students nearly across campus, interrupting the peaceful learning environment.
It seems that disturbances like this have become a regular part of TJC campus life. However, these disturbances and the numerous fights that break out each semester could severely damage the reputation of TJC.
Since January, Campus Safety has been called 36 times just for disturbance reports. That doesn’t include the burglary, assault, harassment, criminal mischief, misconduct or code of conduct violations that are reported on a daily basis.
It came to light last semester that TJC had a problem with fights after two considerably large conflicts broke out at student activities just 18 days apart.
The Apache Pow Wow reported that the first fight happened during the Homecoming Dance on Oct. 11, 2008 near Rogers Student Center, and the second broke out at the Halloween Dance on Oct. 29, 2008 inside the Apache Rooms.
To be fair, Campus Safety did inform The Apache Pow Wow that the people involved in the first fight were dressed casually at the formal event, meaning they may not have been students.
The second fight, however, was made up of so many TJC students that Campus Safety was outnumbered and had to call the Tyler Police.
The cause for the first fight is still unknown, but Campus Safety officers who were working security for the second dance reported that the fight broke out after a song was played.
The song was titled “Watch My Shoes” by 3 Deep. And I must first point out the irony of this situation. A fight breaks out during a song warning people, “Step on my whites, in the club we gon fight.” Clearly someone wasn’t listening.
But more importantly I must point out the ridiculousness of the situation by stating the solution is either not playing songs with negative messages like this one, or having mature students who can handle the music.
It’s simple really. The two largest fights TJC has seen in recent years broke out at student activities. It’s not rocket science that if students don’t stop the fights, the administration will.
However, that is only a small portion of the disturbances reported. Students should still be aware of who is listening when they publicly share what’s on their mind.
TJC often has children from local schools on campus for various exhibits. What kind of example are we setting at a college when children leave campus not remembering the constellations from the planetarium, but instead a new string of curse words to try out on the playground?
Also, in some cases, public profanity is illegal. According to Title 9 of the Texas State Penal Code, swear words can constitute a form of disorderly conduct. Section 42.01 reads, “A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly uses abusive, indecent, profane or vulgar language in a public place, and the language by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace.”
I don’t think the administration should have to step in. I also don’t think we need harsher punishment or more diligent Campus Safety officers. I think we simply need our students be behave in a mature, respectful manner that is representative of TJC.