The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

We’re not just Captains, but also Ambassadors

CNU student reflects on recent events surrounding off-campus parties
Red cups, photo from Unsplash

Having lived in the Newport News community for my whole life, and as a senior at CNU, I feel some obligation to add to an important conversation about reputation, maturity and leadership. Vice President of Student Affairs Kevin Hughes’ recent email to the student body only brought to light a number of issues that have been creeping to the surface of campus life, and for some of us Captains this has probably been a long time coming.
In a campus-wide email (that I’m sure only some of us have read), Hughes writes “As Captains, we are members of the Christopher Newport community; we are also members of the Newport News community.  We expect to be good neighbors throughout Newport News, but especially in the neighborhoods that surround campus. Disappointingly, a number of events have occurred involving students that are just wrong. Quite frankly, they’re embarrassing.

 The context behind this statement is that off-campus partying has gotten out of hand. The Christopher Newport University administration has been receiving complaints from the surrounding community about behavior by our fellow Captains that is simply unjustifiable.

I truly hope that every Captain is here because they understood the cost of attending and the work involved, but still decided that this was the best course for them to take. Yet, it’s easy to forget that the only guaranteed product of your time here is a degree – a certificate that might get you in the door for a future career, but will hardly do the heavy lifting for you. More to the point, even CNU, one of the highest rated public universities, is only worth the reputation we create for it.

Former President Trible knew this well, and in building CNU up from a little-known college into the prestigious university it is now, he made sure to set CNU apart from ‘party schools’ that openly endorsed a culture that was incongruent with exceptionalism. It’s not hard to imagine that President Kelly, in his position, will do just about anything to keep that reputation during his tenure. While certainly not the most popular thing to do, in an environment where we’re all trying to get away with whatever we can, there needs to be an adult in the room that lays down the law.

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Again, since I live here and have family here, I knew well ahead of Hughes’ email about these off-campus events; word spreads around fast among neighbors and the damage to our reputation is real. In my case, I have a younger sister (a sophomore in high school) who previously would come and go from campus as she pleased, but has opted to not stay out too late because of the danger she sees in CNU students too drunk to walk themselves home or show basic self-awareness. When I asked her if she had anything she wanted to include in this article, she said, “They should act their age.” I couldn’t agree more.

In Hughes’ email, he only went as far as to call for some basic empathy and self-awareness. It’s still unclear what steps the CNU administration will take to address this issue. At this time, Newport News Police are working closely with the neighborhood to identify and close in on the off-campus partying that creates so many of these problems. It is not hard to imagine a policy where the CNU administration could require campus organizations to list all of their off-campus properties, and that these locations would also be shared with Newport News Police.

In this conversation about what can be done or what should be done, student voices should be the real judge of character for this campus. Alternative to the administration, the leadership of these organizations for this side of campus life could be at the forefront in making sure things are under control at these parties. CNU’s reputation with our neighbors in Newport News is truly everyone’s responsibility.

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