Second-floor elevator riders are people too

I’d like to consider myself an ally of oppressed groups of people.  Privilege is something that I recognize I have, and when I see someone oppressing others, I consider it imperative to speak out against them.

Thus, I can no longer stay silent and watch the torment of a marginalized group: students who take the elevator to their second-floor dorms.

I’ve never lived on the second floor. In my two years in residential life, I’ve personally tended toward the middle floors of dorms. But there is serious oppression, and I know many students have seen or even committed it.

To deter second-floor elevator use (SFEU), students put notes, or worse, food like peanut butter, on the buttons. And exchanged rolled eyes between elevator participants are not uncommon. Why do we allow this?

Second-floorers are students just like any of us. We don’t know their stories, their lives. Even more, they pay housing fees just like we do and are as entitled to the elevators, and any other residential amenity for the matter, as we are in our own lives.

I’ve spoken to friends about the issue, and while they’ll admit to caring about the poor or the marginalized, they’re equally open about hatred of their fellow SFEU-ers.

“I’m trying to get to class. I don’t want to wait for them,” said one, whose name I’ll redact for the sake of his reputation.

I’m sure they are just as annoyed and rushed, waiting for the elevators stopping on your floors to come down, if they are brave enough to battle the discrimination.

“Why can’t they just take the stairs?” another asks.

In an ideal world, we would all take the stairs. Stairs are healthy for us and tone our legs. But this is not an ideal world, and it is no one’s right to pass judgment.

I’m calling for an end to this bias – for second-floorers and allies to reject it. We must combat oppression wherever we see it, and this elevator ride of hell stops rising today.


Patrick Quinlan is a sophomore majoring in international studies and political science.

November 6, 2013


Patrick Quinlan

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