Life isn’t fair. You know it, I know it, we all know it.
The other day I caught myself commiserating over the gap between the dunking ability of Cassius Stanley ’19 and my own. Why should he be gifted with the capacity to soar over defenders while I hang around at sea level waiting for his return?
The simplistically genius and simultaneously useful motto “Life isn’t fair” serves as a mechanism to cope with certain inequalities that are out of my control, such as the disparity in dunking prowess.
Where unfairness is a product of physical nature and uncontrollable by human efforts, the phrase is applicable. However, when we can realistically take steps towards fairness, the phrase is just a cheap copout that I can’t endorse. The parking arrangements for students is one of those situations.
I’m not talking about a problem-solving new structure in the future. I’m talking about an issue that we have right now and a solution that doesn’t take any money or legal action to implement.
Last year as a junior, I, like most of my classmates, filled out a request for a parking space. I didn’t write any note on the side or do anything to single out my application. I merely followed the instructions on the form and submitted it through the proper channels.
Despite all the hype surrounding the prospect of driving to school, I was dismayed to discover my assignment was in the Upper St. Michaels parking lot. For those of you who don’t know, it is a separate lot behind the church behind the Lower St. Michaels lot (the junior lot). In short: it’s far.
I was bummed but didn’t think too much of it. After all, fair is different than equal. As long as everyone was given a fair shot at a junior lot spot and I was randomly selected for the further lot, there was nothing to do but chalk it up to bad luck.
This year as a senior, I filled out the same form with the hopes that, after receiving one of the less desired spots as a junior, I would be awarded a senior lot spot this year.
When I received the letter with my assigned space, a stack spot, I wasn’t happy. For months, I’ve had to deal with the added hassle of sharing car keys and moving cars just to leave.
So here’s the point. I get that no matter what happens, equality is impossible; there is no solution where everyone has an equal spot, which is fine. Fairness, however, means giving everyone an equal opportunity to claim one of those prized spaces.
The senior lot should be comprised of only seniors, hence the name. And once all juniors have paid their dues in the further lots, they can move up to the senior lot.
Since a merit system is unrealistic to determine parking spaces, the higher ups in charge of the operation should cycle around the good spots to students who were stuck with inferior spots last year.
We all pay the same price for our spot, regardless of where it is, so we should all be awarded an opportunity to benefit from a better spot for at least one of the two years.
In broader terms, fairness and equality are too often jumbled up. Equality isn’t necessarily the goal or the best solution, but the fairness that comes from equal opportunity is what we should always strive for.
I don’t have the same vertical jump as Stanley, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have an equal opportunity to develop other aspects of my game.
Likewise, getting a bad spot at random for one year isn’t reason enough to complain, but when other factors impede what should be a fair system predicated on distributing the good spots to equal-paying students, change is in order.