October 5, 2019- Lander, Wyoming.
“For the good of the community… as a whole.” At any rate, that is how the WCC administration would like the Student Handbook to be perceived by the student body. However, as the updated edition for the present school year rolls off the presses, some people aren’t so certain. The primary source of controversy is a change in the wording of the school’s PDA policy.
Previously, the sub-section read as follows:
‘A dating couple is allowed to hold hands on campus and give each other an occasional hug, but should not display other forms of physical affection in public, such as kissing, cuddling, or sitting on each other’s laps.’-WCC Student Handbook 2018-2019 Edition
For the present edition, the rule has been truncated. The text now stands as follows:
‘The comfort of others when showing affection should always be considered especially in public areas.’-WCC Student Handbook 2019-2020 Edition
That which was formerly asserted in no uncertain terms is now defined only by the ‘comfort of others,’ which is not only vague, but highly subjective. A student, known simply as Carly, when interviewed, reported that, “The only reason we still have decorum is because of the PDA policy.” The primary contention is that if these standards were not specifically enumerated, nobody would ever have bothered to respect them at all.
One of the professors disagrees. She referred to the particular rules as ‘parchment protections,’ noting that the prior existence of specifically enumerated guidelines made exceptions of those things that weren’t included. Thus, by excluding the specific list, the PDA guidelines are now all-inclusive protections for the community against the full spectrum of mushy, lovey-dovey things nobody wants to put up with while trying to read the day’s de Tocqueville assignment in the same room as a young couple.
Some have noted the inconsistency of this perspective, however. When one looks into the weapons policy, one finds that napalm, among other things, is specifically excluded. Clearly, the administration still maintains that specific exclusions are necessary. What follows is some measure of confusion as to what the reasoning is for the new rule. The one thing that is certain is that the ‘comfort of others’ is highly subjected, while the use of the term, ‘considered,’ is quite interesting. It may be supposed that one may consider, yet not necessarily act upon one’s considerations.
At press time, no particularly egregious occasions of PDA have been reported, but all are advised to guard the eyes when entering the location known as ‘Jim’s Apartment.’ On crossing that threshold, comfort cannot be guaranteed.