Dear Pacific Lutheran University Student Conduct,
I was troubled to hear about your choice to discipline Kristiana Lapo in regards to her comments in The Mast this last week.
I am not writing this letter to engage the issue of journalistic responsibility.
This is an issue that deserves consideration, and I have already given my opinions surrounding it to The Mast. I leave it up to the journalism community and you to engage that very important discussion.
My critique as a member of the PLU community is one that moves beyond that dialogue.
I am troubled that you’ve chosen to punish a solitary student instead of tackling the greater systemic issue of theft and food at our university.
Kristian aadmitted to taking cereal out of the dining area with Tupperware. In the two years I had a meal plan I personally observed or discussed this type of theft with easily more than a hundred of my peers.
This problem goes far beyond a solitary student.
However, you’ve chosen to make an example of Kristiana. As I’ve said, I leave the ethics and wisdom of this decision up to you and further discussion with The Mast and the greater community.
My criticism is leveled at your lack of response beyond that. I believe the Mast article was an encouragement for discussion and a call for solutions.
Punishing Kristiana without other measures, as though she alone is the problem, is a truncated response at best.
The mission of our university is:
“To educate students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care – for other persons, for their communities and for the earth.”
A response that only punishes Kristiana for participating in an attempt at thoughtful inquiry does not align with our mission as a university.
The widespread nature of the theft shows that something else beyond a single punishment needs to happen.
This is, as they say in education, a “teachable moment” for the university’s student body, which engages in behavior like Kristiana’s everyday.
I encourage you to move beyond simply prosecuting Kristiana to a more systemic approach to this issue, which might include public forums, a formal response in student media or the involvement of ASPLU.
Senior Jordan Beck