SATIRE: New student-imposed stigma to prepare students for real world


Photo illustration by Nowshin Chowdhury

Every day, residents of the hotel try to say hi to others on campus but they just keep laughing at them.

In an attempt to create a more true-to-life experience, on-campus students have established a hierarchy of power based on housing. And Extended Stay America residents are at the bottom.

Extended Stay America is a crappy hotel near campus where students who turned in their housing applications late were forced to stay. Some still remain.

The rationale of this new program is to prepare students to express common stereotypes and disdain in a socially acceptable way. Housing was chosen to be the measuring factor because of its applicability to already-established systems of institutionalized neglect.

For example, Randy Johnson, a sophomore studying biomedical diagnostic and therapeutic sciences, lived in the Extended Stay America. His stay in the hotel made it apparent that he’s just another run-of-the-mill victim of institutionalized neglect that no one cares about.

And like other victims of that kind of neglect, no one cares about them until they tell their sad stories.

Johnson found a place in the dorms a few weeks after the semester started and is hoping to get into medical school after he graduates. He focuses most of his time on homework, since he can’t find anyone who would want to be friends with him.

“I don’t understand.” Johnson said. “Will someone just sit next to me in class instead of treating me like I’m weird?”

His resident assistants ignore his existence. Johnson looks forward to the time of day when he can misbehave in the dorms and his RAs give him attention for once.

“It’s always some variation of, ‘if you didn’t turn in your housing application late, you wouldn’t be acting like this,’” Johnson said. “Or, ‘I blame the parents.’”

A recent poll shows that 70 percent of students anonymously admitted to avoiding eye contact with students who stayed in the hotel, while 30 percent admitted to clutching their backpack when hotel residents walked toward them.

But not everyone is a jerk. Garry Deacon, a Vandenberg resident, talked proudly of his efforts to try to reverse some of the negative stigma attributed to off-campus residents.

“I noticed someone said that it was a problem on Facebook,” Deacon said. “So I had to like it. I couldn’t, in a good conscience, just ignore something as important as liking that post.”

The Facebook post showed support for hotel residents.

But when asked about the recent rally in support of hotel residents and whether he was able to show solidarity for the people he supported on Facebook, Deacon admitted that he couldn’t make the event.

“I mean, I totally have friends who are hotel residents,” Deacon said. “Most of my friends, even, are hotel residents. I just didn’t know how other people would act. Probably because I got scared of how the media portrays them.”

Deacon never gave a clear answer of whether he would attend the next rally or whether he actually has friends that lived in temporary hotel housing.

Faculty of OU declined to comment anything further than, “What the hell is wrong with students?”