Fair Or Unfair? You Decide

Alan Resnick

Wrong or Fair? You Decide

Twenty year old Steven Sverchek changed out of his dress pants and shirt and slipped into something a little more comfortable after a long day of driving and court. Yes court: the kind you attend if you’ve done something wrong, or been accused of something wrong.

About three months ago Steven’s fraternity house, Delta Pi, was busted by the cops and he was accused of furnishing minors with alcohol and being underage and drinking. The whole fraternity was in trouble in an effort by the cops and school officials to start cracking down on parties and illegal activities at Bloomsburg University. Steven, along with three of his fraternity brothers, was kicked out of school after months of hearings and pleas. The rest of the members of the frat got community service and fines.

Now it seems like the lives of four students are ruined. Yes it is illegal to be drinking under the age of 21. Yes it is illegal to supply minors with alcohol. Yes Bloomsburg has been around for over 100 years and students have been partying and hosting gatherings for most of those years. These comments being said, shouldn’t there be a set way to punish kids at Bloomsburg? Making an example of Delta Pi seems to indicate that the school might be changing. Now changing for the better or worse is a matter of opinion, but it begs the question: Is what happened to Steven Sverchek fair or wrong?

As Steven put it, after coming up three months after the incident for a trial in which he was told to come back because they still didn’t have all the details to his punishment, “This whole thing has put a black mark on my life. My record, life and morale are permanently shot and I hope and will try to bounce back from this every day.”

Steven’s account of the nights events in which he was arrested include police force where it was very unnecessary, no reading of the common rights that everyone is read during an arrest, and just the feeling of being scum by the police when all the Delta Pi brothers were cooperating and doing what the police asked.

As Steven recalls, “They wouldn’t even let us use the bathroom. We were all cooperating and it just seemed very one sided. I came home from the library and next thing I know undercover cops roll into our house and just start clearing the house out. No one had any idea what went on.”

So underage’s were given out, items confiscated for no reason and people left in turmoil and surprise. Some might say protocol was followed by the law enforcement. Some might say that the police needed to let the brothers see the warrant. When it comes down to it, Steven couldn’t believe this is the same school he’s been going to and getting good grades at for two years already.

“I’m shocked at how this was handled. My dad is shocked at how this was handled. He is an alumnus of Bloomsburg and still donates and gives money back to the school. Since this has happened and he’s seen all the trials and hearings and how they have been so one sided, he has contemplated never helping this school out again.”

After the initial busting of the party fines, classes, community service and hearings all followed. All of which Steven complied with, telling his story and account of the night to all that asked.

Steven looks down at the floor now. Anyone could tell that he was getting sad and frustrated, saying “I know it was wrong to do, but this was a poor way to carry out an example. This ruined my life. I never got a parking ticket, a fine or even a bad grade in my life. I truly am upset at how harsh of a punishment Bloomsburg gave me.”

Fellow brother in Delta Pi and best friend Marc Gradwohl couldn’t believe it as well. “I truly am upset. The way the cops handled this was not like anything I’ve ever seen. My major issue is that a lot worse behaving kids go to this school and should be kicked out for some of what they do than Steve who hasn’t hurt a fly in his life, hasn’t been even close to being in trouble at this school.”

Marc brings up a good point: was this punishment to severe? Some might think so, others might not. The times are certainly changing at Bloomsburg, but for better or worse? We as a student body don’t want to always be scared of cops and getting in trouble. Every college across America has some kids that dabble in alcohol or drugs. Does that make it right? The answer is no, but does it make it right for a university to expel kids trying to get an education and give money to their school to go here over the type of party that happens every weekend at universities across the country? All these questions are always a constant debate, however for this particular incident, it seems to me there was no debate, no other side, no explanations heard, just one-sided clear cut punishments.

Now it is more waiting for Steven. More time to contemplate what happened because the punishments and paperwork issued by the law are not ready yet. “Now I am just waiting, knowing I’m going to be placed on some alcohol program when I wasn’t even drinking,” Steven goes on saying “all my loans are erased and my fines are really adding up. This is just a tough time right now.”

As for how Steven is trying to get by at home for the rest of the semester: “I am working two jobs, one at UPS and one as a snowboarding instructor at Blue Mountain. I got into a different school for spring semester of next year and just can’t wait to get back into the swing of college.”

This is a story of a punishment that might be fair to some people but might be harsh to others. Either way, this young man has picked himself up and found a way to rebound. Anyone in the right mind can appreciate and respect that.

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