The responsibility is ours

Harvard-Westlake is littered with committees. And as if there weren’t already enough committees to keep track of on the upper school campus before this year, we can now add the sportsmanship review committee to that list.

The sportsmanship committee’s proposals to change the culture of conduct at sporting events are likely to draw the ire of at least a few students.

This committee is part of a trend of increased faculty involvement in student affairs to combat what is perceived as a sagging culture of student conduct. Another example of the trend is the policy against using cell phones in buildings, which was put into place last year.

While the general reaction of the student body cannot be judged at this early stage in the year, it is hardly a reach to assume that many of the school’s proposals, like the sportsmanship proposal, will not exactly be greeted with open arms by students.

Students may disapprove of the specifics of the faculty’s decisions, but no matter how valid our arguments are, they fail to address the more important point. If the reforms of the faculty and administration so often prompt moaning and groaning from the majority of the student body, why do we students force them into action in the first place?

Rather than criticizing the faculty and administration for their decisions, we should take matters into our own hands and preempt the need for intervention. As the new school year begins, we should make a vow to take responsibility instead of playing the blame game.

Besides, righting most of our day-to-day wrongs should not even be difficult. Let’s start with the most easily improvable daily transgression on campus: cleaning up trash (or the lack thereof). Maybe we could just each dump our lunch garbage into the bins.

It is the same easy fix with the cell phone problem. To resist the temptation of answering a friend’s text message, simply turn off your phone prior to an assembly or put it in your backpack before class.

Last but certainly not least, there is the issue of conduct at athletic competitions. We can be passionate when cheering on our friends and classmates. Even a degree of rowdiness should be acceptable at times.

But once we cross the line and shout overly insensitive comments, we only make matters worse for ourselves. By default, we put matters in the hands of those with whom we so often disagree. And when the faculty and administration need to get involved, it means they have lost a degree of faith in us students to do the right things on our own and carry ourselves in the proper manner.

In the end, the actions of the faculty and administration are always more drastic than what students are comfortable with. Yet drastic changes could be prevented simply by doing the little things first.