The other day, the university tested its much-anticipated TCU Alert System. In an instant, most of the campus population received text messages and e-mails to be used as a preliminary mass message system. The concept seems to have worked thus far, allowing the administration to quickly notify students, faculty and staff about any pressing matters. These can range from weather fiascoes, changes in school functions and other disasters on campus. Although I applaud the concept of mass communication in a matter of seconds, I have found that it somewhat resembles a Big Brother-esque type of uniformity and obedience.
As most every other student on campus did upon receiving the messages, they followed its orders without thinking. Without even a hesitant thought concerning my actions, I replied to the text message’s orders almost immediately. It asked me to respond with a “YES,” which I did. Then I checked my e-mail, where it ordered me to click the link provided. I clicked the link. Only after I had done these arbitrary demands did I stop and realize that I had obeyed a message from the central command of TCU.
Why is this a big deal? It is a system designed to help keep the TCU community alert and on track, all at the same time. And therein lies the problem. By squashing and taking that small piece of individuality from us with a mere text messaging system, we have given in to the Big Brother that is the university administration. What is to stop them from installing a system of speakers throughout campus that continually blare our fight music, briefly pausing to alert us as to how we should react upon certain situations, like meeting a person from a rival school? Next, the system could be telling us that Brown-Lupton University Union is not a waste of money after all. It is a necessary building for TCU’s future. Simple things like this eventually lead to much bigger shows of force. Just examine Lenin’s project code named USSR.
First it was the signs posted around campus, telling us where and when to cast our votes for some silly Mr. and Ms. (not Mrs.) TCU election. Then came the mass electronic communication, hijacking our phones and Internet into conformity. Next we’ll have parades across University Drive as Supreme High Chancellor Victor Boschini sits in his dark office, contemplating the next universal message needed to ensure loyalty. Perhaps this is overreacting, but then again, wouldn’t you rather keep them from bugging you with commands and mass obedience? They may take our tuition, but they’ll never take our minds, comrades!
Bruno Bruelhart is a junior writing and history major from Hobbs, N.M.