Dear Mr. Stroud,
I hope you do not find my response too bold, but seeing as I had no direct way to respond to you, I thought I would write this. I am a student at Swansea University, and I have been here for some time. I am sick of sweeping generalisations like the ones made in your letter.
This is, of course, a huge understatement. Have you done one iota of research before boldly marching forward with your charge against the dirty, scummy student population? I sincerely doubt it. I’ll leave you with a name to get started on, if you like. Charlotte Britton, soon-to-be the Students’ Union Welfare Officer for a second year, has been very active in making sure that students help clean up the area in which they live. Surprisingly, it is not the Union’s only job to provide us with free condoms and cheap beer. Please tell me why these young people – attracted to Swansea largely for its location – would actively try to destroy this ugly, lovely city? It beggars belief that people think that this is our aim in life. There are some other organisations that exist that organise clean-ups of the beach, and whilst I cannot name them all, I’m sure they will come forward soon enough. Looks like they have!
Yes, some students are careless. People in general are careless. Not just students. For every group in society, there are a few who act like idiots and ruin things for everyone else. I suppose I should thank you for at least not going to the lengths of thinking we’re all racists, just because one bloke really didn’t like that Muamba bloke. You still seem to worry that we’re going to turn the campus into Chernobyl, though, and it confounds me. You say that litter is strewn about campus and is ‘ankle-deep’ at the lawn. Provide photos and actual figures for the costs to clean it up and we’ll talk. I’ll bet it doesn’t amount to what it would have taken to clean up after any of the Six Nations showings near Swansea Castle.
This reminds me of another article posted online here. A response was posted here. Do you think we purposefully try to attract wildlife? Christ. We’re not trying to summon Swansea’s population of seagulls to your doorstep. Most of the time, it’s an effect, not a cause.
Perhaps I am overreacting, but I am focusing on your letter because it is endemic of a society that thinks us students do bugger all. I’ve spent my time wisely at university. If I’m shelling out for my degree (something previous generations had the luxury of not paying), I’m not going to throw it away. Contrary to popular opinion, I’ve managed to work without being perpetually drunk or stoned.
I am bored of the look I get when I say I am a student. Why should society berate us with arrogant finger-wagging when it is no better itself? Whenever I watch a session of Prime Minister’s Questions, it makes me weep. These ‘politicians’, these paragons of democracy, act like kids fighting over a bunch of toys. How about all the chin-wagging about tax evasion? These are the people you should be concerned about, rather than yawing on about students like an agitated Daily Mail reader. Leave us be. We are only trying to educate ourselves, so stop flinging mud at us. Try the pasty tax. That’s a hot topic (haha, I crack myself up).
Of course, I realise that not everyone thinks like this. This letter goes out to the minority who would agree with you in addition to your good self, Mr. Stroud.
I am going to leave the comments section open to anyone on this blog, and I invite you to post your response here.