I have attended many panels, speakers and guest lectures in my time at Edinboro University, even being on a panel once myself.
In that time, I have unfortunately seen a common theme among the students attending these events, disrespect.
Despite what students believe, it is very obvious when students are acting disrespectful during these events. Panelists don’t believe that you’re staring at your lap, they know you’re on your phone. They can tell when you are talking to your neighbor and they notice when you leave in the middle of the event.
The speakers and panelists at these events are often professionals who have taken time out of their busy schedules to give advice and insight to the student body. How are they greeted? With students not paying attention, leaving before the end or talking while they’re talking.
I understand that often students come to these events with the incentive of extra credit and might not actually have an interest in the topic. However you can attend an event you don’t have an interest in without being disrespectful. Maybe better yet, if you don’t care about a topic at all don’t attend and be rude just for extra credit.
As millennials, we are often associated with an in ability to disconnect from technology and a lack of interest in the world around us. Should we honestly be trying to prove this stereotype correct?
Now this isn’t to say all Edinboro students are disrespectful when attending these events. There are still a majority of people who come to events, listen respectfully, stay off of their phones and stay until the presentation is finished. However, there are still enough students acting like this to be an issue that needs addressed.
If you’re too tempted by your phone not to check it during an event, there’s a solution, turn it off.
Now from time to time, there might be an emergency or family issue that requires students to be close to their phones, but this often isn’t the case. But if a student absolutely needs to use their phone during an event, at least have the decency to put it on silent because while you may enjoy your “Shake it Off ” ringtone, I don’t think you’ll love it going off in the middle of an event.
Most of these events last only an hour to perhaps two. If you can’t dedicate an hour of your time to staying at an event, regardless of the content, then you probably shouldn’t be attending the event in the first place. Leaving during an event is potentially one of the most rude things a student can do.
By leaving in the middle of an event you are projecting to the speaker or panelists that you’re not interested in what they’re saying and that being at the event is a waste of your time. If you don’t have the guts to say that in person to professionals, then I suggest staying in your seat.
There are excuses to leave your seat, like using the restroom or taking an important call, but you can do so without slamming the door on the way out.
An article isn’t going to change rude behavior, but maybe it’s time we stop catering to them.
Professors, don’t give extra credit to people who leave early or text during events. Hold people accountable for their actions. Maybe then we can move away from events that clear out before it’s over and show professionals respect.
Logan Lily is the Editor-in-Chief at The Spectator.