Editorial: Death penalty initiative lacks needed clarity

Maroon Staff

Over the course of the past few weeks, our campus has become host to a variety of posters and signs reminding us of God’s sixth commandment to Moses: “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” While this is an admirable sentiment, we were left with no clue as to what it meant or why the signs were scattered around campus. Some investigation revealed that this is part of a larger initiative by Loyola to stand against the death penalty, a fact which these signs do not specifically address. Moreover, the initiative seems to have come about with no real discussion with the wider Loyola community.

Taking a stand on such a pivotal social issue is admirable, especially given the power Loyola wields at a local and state level. Nor is it out of line for Loyola, a Jesuit institution, to express support for a wider Catholic doctrine. But the abruptness of this initiative and the confusing way in which it has thus far been executed are problems in line with those we have experienced throughout the year.

The signs lacked clarity – they provided a simple message without the context to make its effect clear. But they were also part of a larger drive of which we were largely unaware. Father Wildes is the president of this university and is empowered to make a large number of decisions, and we at the Maroon do not oppose his decision to put the weight of Loyola against the use of lethal injection.

We do, however, object to the seeming abruptness of the decision and the lack of clarity in its execution. Loyola carries weight beyond the members of its student body, but its student body is its primary reason for existing. Students will come and go, so our voice and thoughts should be only a part of the university’s larger and more far-sighted plan; however, it should still be a component in decisions, part of the discussion even if it is not the pivotal voice.

Throughout the course of this semester, the school has faced numerous problems due to a lack of foresight – a five million dollar budget cut across all departments due to lower-than-expected retention and overcrowded dorms due to inadequate preparation after the closing of Cabra Hall. These issues were caused by administrative decisions, the consequences of which may not have been totally possible to anticipate. But perhaps the university administration could have experienced less severe problems if they had consulted and discussed with students beforehand, and this latest initiative, though admirable in aim, seems like yet another example of the administration undertaking a decision without making much consultation of the student body beforehand.

Though we pay tuition to come here, this university is not run by students. That is acceptable; it is an institution that was here before us and will persist after we are gone, and our voice should by no means be the essential determining factor in Loyola’s policies. There is reason to think that this voice is being underused and underrepresented in decisions which affect the campus, to the degree that we can see “Thou Shalt Not Kill” scattered around campus and have no idea what we’re supporting by saying so.