Punishment without explanation is not a lesson to learn

When we were young and did something wrong, most of our parents attempted to educate us through punishment. There would be an appropriate punishment telling us what we did wrong. That way, we would learn what behavior was unacceptable so that we can stray from repeating it. This is the normally accepted procedure to teach a lesson.

Apparently this is not always the case. It seems the disciplinarians at our university do not think this is the appropriate course of action for deterring and changing unacceptable behavior.

Last weekend, while I was home visiting family, I downloaded Limewire, not knowing it is not a good program to have or actually allowed on campus. Monday night, after downloading a couple of songs and hearing that it can be dangerous for your computer, I uninstalled it. I don’t need any trouble with my new laptop. Soon after that, I started noticing that my wireless connection was no longer working. I later realized it was only my laptop that was having trouble in my apartment, which is when I started to get worried.

Early Tuesday morning, I decided to call the I.T. department since nothing else was making my Internet work and I had a lot of things to get done. This is when I learned that my connection was fine, but my account had been disabled because they had detected Limewire in my system.

Being a student at a private university, I know and understand that I have chosen to abide by the rules and regulations the university lays down. Failing to do this will result in repercussions. This I understand and fully accept.

I’m not upset because I actually received the punishment designated for having broken this regulation. My issue here is that I didn’t even know I had broken a rule and was not made aware of the fact that I was receiving a punishment or repercussion in the first place. Since I was a little girl, my parents at least respected me enough and had the decency to tell me what I did wrong, what my punishment was, and maybe even explain why it is wrong. In this way I learned and chose myself not to do that again.

It is all about education. I am not a person who tends to break rules just for kicks. I do not believe myself to be reckless and unconcerned with rules and regulations. I try to abide by the laws that I subscribe to being a member of this university and this society. But even if I didn’t, I believe it is mere common courtesy to at least let the individual know that they are receiving repercussions and what they did to merit this. Would it really be so difficult to give the student a note? Send a warning email? Or get in touch with him or her somehow to let them know what is happening?

I guess a little respect for us as students and people who can make honest mistakes is all I’m asking for. Is it too much to ask?

Beni Yunis is a junior majoring in communication studies and international studies. She may be contacted at b.yunis@umiami.edu