Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rappelling off Belfer Hall

So by now you've all seen this blog. It's about this video.

A couple of points.

Notice this beautiful contradiction.

"The answer hit me one day as I was walking past the construction on the library. People were walking by constantly and not one of them looked up at the construction workers dangling overhead. They had become an integral and accepted part of the landscape. At that moment I knew that no one would raise an eyebrow at yet another construction worker hanging off of a rope."

Now compare to "Also, where does the buck stop? Couldn’t we blame YU security for not stopping us...?"

They were dressed as construction workers, not as students, but YU security is somehow supposed to discern that they are students? How are they supposed to manage this, with their magic and ever-ready binoculars, or are they suddenly able to fly? Although the rappellers refrain from blaming the security in this piece, in the video itself they certainly mocked it. I don't see how one could honestly put YU at fault.

I find it amazing that these four guys truly believe that they are liberating American adolescent Jewry by "bringing life and passion back into Judaism."

You want to bring back life and passion into Judaism? So there's a time and a place to do it; your idea of sailing to Australia sounds great. And I understand pranks and how cool it is to rappel off buildings at YU without getting caught. But I think the damage caused by the amount of people who heard the negative press about YU, that is, that you had managed to get away with this trick without security catching you, far outweighs the potential gain of "bringing life and passion back into Judaism." The excuse that your disobeying rules is inconsequential as compared to the fact that YU apparently doesn't do enough to control drug usage is incredibly irrelevant.

"But don’t you think it a bit of a mistake for YU to go to all this trouble to advertise that all people who now try to rappel off of Belfer will be expelled, but not to do the same thing for drug usage which is far more prevalent on campus? Would you rather students get high on Belfer or high on marijuana?"

Are you kidding me? You excuse your actions by saying- hey, it's better than doing drugs? What in the world does one have to do with the other?

You explain that your son won't be allowed to use inappropriate language, skip minyan or treat his mother with disrespect, but apparently you have no problem with him flouting school rules, dismantling emergency equipment and engaging in something that generates very public negative publicity for the school that you ostensibly thank "for an incredible education and the best three years of our lives." Wonderful way to thank a school, this; I'm sure more reports of poor security, etc were exactly what YU needed to make their day.

I find this entire interview to be ridiculous. You want to be passionate, adventurous Orthodox Jews? So for sure do it. Whether you intended it or not, however, the last part of the video, which states "With much gratitude to YU, Staff, Faculty, and Security for an Educational and Enriching Three Years" came off as mocking and contemptuous, especially as it was preceded by the question, "How does one get away with rappelling Belfer in broad daylight in the middle of the school year?" This isn't the way to bring back passion.

Just the thoughts of another "conventional Stern girl."

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Would you rather students get high on Belfer or high on marijuana?"

Are these students retarded? Do they not realize that one of these activities is far more dangerous to students who try to copy this as well as to bystanders than the other. Also, one exposes the school to far more legal liability than the other.

Scraps said...

Chana, you are far from being just another "conventional Stern girl". :)

However, I do agree with the rest of what you wrote.

Anonymous said...

"But don’t you think it a bit of a mistake for YU to go to all this trouble to advertise that all people who now try to rappel off of Belfer will be expelled, but not to do the same thing for drug usage which is far more prevalent on campus? Would you rather students get high on Belfer or high on marijuana?"

What they are all saying is that getting high on TORAH doesn't do it for them. This speaks a mouth full about the legitimacy of the TORAH.

Emily said...

Generally I agree with you, however, I think you're wrong here. Having seriously considered, and on and off be planning, a similar stunt on my campus (climbing up the scaffolding on the big glass wall in our student union), it's not about breaking the rules, or disrespecting authority. It's about doing something exciting and memorable. Yeah, if these guys hadn't known what they were doing, it would have been stupid, but they did. They had plenty of technical expertise, and practice. Many non climbers don't realize that with proper training and safety procedures (which these guys pretty clearly had) you can eliminate almost all of the risk from a stunt like this. Now, that's only if you really know what you're doing, but as I said, these guys clearly did. I think it's bad policy to stop everyone from doing something because it's dangerous for some people. We allow people to drive cars (with proper training), even though it has the potential to be fatal (and, in fact, often is, even with proper training). Why should building climbing (statistically safer) be any different? I think you can trust anyone ith half a brain to realize that lowering yourself off a 250 foot building is potentially risky, and that you shouldn't do it while drunk or otherwise unprepared, so I don't buy the risk of copycats here. It was a silly prank, nothing more, and hardly a huge risk for the student body, or a defamation of the school.

Anonymous said...

“I think you can trust anyone ith half a brain to realize that lowering yourself off a 250 foot building is potentially risky, and that you shouldn't do it while drunk or otherwise unprepared, so I don't buy the risk of copycats here.”

Never mind that virtually every country, state and locality around the civilized world have laws prohibiting it. What do they know. If Emily tells us that there is nothing risky about it, that’s all we need to know.

haKiruv said...

I agree. Besides, can't you just get a permit and do the same thing?

Emily said...

Actually, building climbers/rappellers are generally charged under tresspassing laws, not anti-building-climbing ones. Which is why every urban climbing group tells you that public buildings are your best bet. Also, I didn't say it wasn't risky. I said you could limit the vast majority of the risk by being safe and prepared, which it sounds like they did. And I am actually basing my assessment on 6 years of climbing experience, including several long rappells, 4 years of competition, and 2-3 years of lead climbing, both indoor and outdoor.

Anonymous said...

"Although the rappellers refrain from blaming the security in this piece, in the video itself they certainly mocked it. I don't see how one could honestly put YU at fault."

YU's security is tighter than Fort Knox. It has so much security, I'm surprised that all these liberal Jewish parents don't complain about invasion of privacy as they do when the government does less.
I mean going to school at YU is like not being in America, it's like moving into the Israeli Embassy or living in Israel where you can spend all your days living in a maximum security prison with Kosher meals. That explains why they were jumping off a roof. They were trying to escape! Better check the basements at YU for tunnels.

yitz.. said...

did anyone point out that security isn't about keeping students from misbehaving, but rather keeping strangers from harming students..?

Anonymous said...

Well said Emily!

Anonymous said...

Olivia, I mean, Chana...
It seems to me like you have misunderstood most of what you have read in the "Shysma" blog. Nobody blamed security! It was a hypothetical example...
You state bad publicity has arisen from this event. Any sources on that? Didn't think so. As far as the irrelevance to the marijuana/pot, it stuns me that a seemingly intelligent individual like yourself fails to see the clear relation. They are both liability to the school in many ways, they are both dangerous, on is far more prevalent with no disciplinary pursuits while the other being very, very rare is being attacked as ruining the reputation of security. Maybe you have chosen to ignore the facts and perhaps you scoured the blog to find your "inconsistencies" but bottom line: YU's reputation was not hurt in the least bit, the security department was never blamed by anyone let alone the school. All I have heard from people is that it was entertaining. Nothing more, nothing less... Perhaps you should pick on an issue that actually effects the reputation of the school. The countless hallways and apartments with the stench of pot glued every oxygen molecule. (Did you catch the connection this time? SOMETHING THAT MATTERS!!!) Looking forward to your next blog.
An avid fan,
Alex, oops I mean Yosef. Why are you using an alias again?