Mask On: Can N.C. A&T actually change student behavior

Courtney+Baskerville+discusses+platform+with+students.+

Terrell Peterson

Courtney Baskerville discusses platform with students.

Jamille Whitlow, theYard Editor

N.C. A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin has been on the forefront of the campaign to reopen campus this fall. He’s appeared in multiple virtual forums to discuss the plans and procedures for students returning to campus and outlining the extensive efforts his university would undertake to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

One part of N.C. A&T’s strategy is having students sign the Community Infectious Disease Mitigation Agreement, in which they promise to follow the health and safety guidelines established by public health officials.

But a different story played out on campus over the weekend.

Students were photographed and seen on campus not adhering to social distancing guidelines on Aug. 9. And after a lot of online  scrutiny, students who were not yet on campus began to voice their opinions about reopening plans. 

With days left until the upperclassmen move in, Aggies are concerned that students will be sent home sooner than expected.

Small groups of students were playing manhunt across the North side of campus. It wasn’t until someone with speakers and a microphone told the students to meet at the clock tower.

 

Often, it’s an unspoken tradition to blame the incoming class for mishaps on campus; however, as people give any reason to push blame, the fault doesn’t fall on the incoming class solely. Regardless, we are a community, if anything, it falls on the entire community because we must hold each other accountable.

Students share some blame when they don’t follow the rules. But it’s not all their fault. Campus leaders should acknowledge that college students’ brains are still evolving in a way that makes them prone to taking risks that could endanger them — especially considering they’ve likely been pent up for months. Officials should also prepare to educate students and offer rationale for what they’re asking them to do, all in an effort to normalize some of the required behavior changes.

Pointing fingers at people will not help us move forward. Our school is known for being “An Aggie Family.”  Therefore, let this be a learning lesson for us all in regard to social distancing and believing everything you see on the Internet without context.

After all, the week before we were sent home last fall semester, there was an entire Que party on March 14th, during a whole pandemic. No one had masks, and the party was packed with mainly upperclassmen at a house. Consequently, this is not the first time Aggies have come together and without any type of protection from the COVID-19; so, why shun the incoming class when upperclassmen did the same thing?