So I got an e-mail from the president of NUIG, addressed to the whole student body, to talk about “anti-social behaviour.” While that term usually means some sort of loner behavior, here it mainly means drunken debauchery and vandalism. This is not that uncommon at an Irish university, and Galway is no different, hence the e-mail. The Garda Síochána, Ireland’s police force, is pretty ticked off, I suppose. There’s been a lot of bad press about Galway students engaging in anti-social behavior, and I guess Halloween was a big enough problem that the university’s president got in on the act. From President James J. Browne:
The Gardai have described students “on the rampage” through the city during week nights. Whilst this problem is caused by a minority of students, not all of whom are students in the University, it reflects badly on the reputation of all students and the University, and it is a cause for concern in relation to the health and welfare of students and others. The University unequivocally condemns any such behaviour and, in the interests of all our students, is determined to do all in its power, in cooperation with the Students’ Union, to deal with the problem.
This is one of the biggest differences I’ve noticed while studying here. In America, most college students work day and night throughout the week, then socialize (parties, bars and clubs, etc.) on the weekend–which starts early enough on Thursday night. Here in Ireland, though, students study all day, party on weeknights and then…go home on the weekends, presumably to work and do homework. It makes absolutely no sense to me and most of the other Americans: wouldn’t you want to work all week, get everything done, and then hang out in Galway on the weekend with all your friends during a big chunk of free time?
Anyway, I guess that deserves its own post, so back to the e-mail. I found this part the most interesting:
We also urge all students to take some communal responsibility for their fellow students, where possible,and to encourage them to avoid behaviour which is likely to lead to injury to individuals or damage to property and consequent criminal conviction. Students should be aware that a criminal conviction will seriously jeopardise their prospects of being granted a US entry visa now or in later years.
Now that’s interesting. Lots of Irish students go to the States during the summer, work a job and travel; two of my Irish friends are doing that this coming summer. And after college, the United States is a really popular place to do more studying, traveling, or working. For instance, the Burkes of Grange Ballinlough, who are distant relatives I met during my search for the Naughtons, have a son who is a doctor currently doing his residency at Columbia University in New York.
I find it interesting and fascinating that the president of NUIG would use the threat of losing the opportunity to go the US as a way of curbing this behavior. What does that say about the United States and its pull for others throughout the world? I think it says a good deal. Just food for thought. Cheers.