Billingsley says no homecoming for three years
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 19, 2012 17:10
Sunday marked the beginning of what may be the last homecoming Prairie View students will see for at least three years.
Dr. Miron P. Billingsley, associate vice president of student affairs, is proposing that all university affiliated homecoming events tailored to and for the students should be cancelled after the actions of students during the “traditional” midnight streaking following the Gospel Fest.
“You have embarrassed me,” Billingsley said.
Fifteen flipped carts, aggravated and assaulted officers, four injured students, broken library glass, and hundreds of students running naked with a few jumping in the new pond, may have set homecoming out for the last time.
“Your one night of wildness will send you home,” said Billingsley.
Responding to the largest turn out for the midnight streaking, Billingsley is working to end homecoming and expel some if not all students involved.
Astonished but not empathic, Billingsley and the administration as a whole are perplexed by the evolving idea of student fun as the campus witnesses a loss of all accountability for student actions using “tradition” as a band aid to the thousands of dollars of damage.
“I don’t understand the tradition in running around naked,” said Billingsley. “Some people will tell you hanging black people is tradition.”
Although a bit extreme Billingsley, wants students to understand that tradition should not mean the destruction of the university or the injury of any student.
Responsible for not only the image but also the lives of the student body, Billingsley speaks from a concern for student welfare and worries students have forgotten that they are at Prairie View to get an education.
“My job is to create a safe living and learning community,” he said.
He denounces the need for university sponsored campus life.
“The main purpose of any university is to teach its students, and homecoming is simply an expensive addition,” he said. Spending nearly $125,000 or more each year on homecoming, the administration is concerned that the work and initiatives of the homecoming committee is not valued enough to act accordingly.
“It’s a privilege to be on this campus,” said Billingsley.
The young men and women that walk “The Hill” no longer represent themselves alone but rather the university as well. With or without an official title of student leadership Prairie View’s administration hopes canceling homecoming will show students the privilege of being called a Panther and the esteem of being a Prairie View alumni.
Denise Simmons, director of student conduct, said, “When students act how they did this weekend it diminishes the Prairie View degree. It eliminates not only potential students, but employers who may have considered visiting during the career fair.”
The actions of the few affect the many, whether it means no homecoming or the diminished valued of a Prairie View degree.
PV Right Hook serves as the best example of what the actions of some can do to the whole.
“There were parents during orientation who asked whether Prairie View was safe enough to send their children. That was one fight on one day in the MSC, but it gives a perception to the public when its on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram that PV Right Hook is an example of all Prairie View students,” said Simmons.
Billingsley is warning that until Prairie View students take accountability for their actions and hold one another accountable, the tradition students look forward to and the brand which began some many years when the first eight walked “The Hill” may be lost. The concern of the administration is more than students running around in their birthday suit but a grand depletion in the historic equity of the second oldest land grant institution.
Billingsley said, “For hundreds of years, people came here to get an education and give back to the community to be stronger and to be better. There is nothing wrong with having fun and enjoying yourself but you have to understand that you stand on the shoulders of the men and women that came before. You think about your mom and dad but remember those first eight that came here simply to get an education.”
Challenging the students to remember the history that started some 135 years ago through their actions, Billingsley hopes the threat of no homecoming will cause a change in student behavior.
“I am suggesting eliminating events for students, what happens Sunday through Monday, but keep all alumni events on the weekend because I don’t think the student’s behavior warrants us giving them things,” said Billingsley.
Passionately advocating the loss of homecoming events for students, Billingsley is willing to meet with students in a forum to discuss alternatives to eliminating homecoming events for three years. The passage of time, Billingsley hopes, will not only frustrate the students but increase their understanding of how fortunate Prairie View students are to have homecoming.
“Texas A&M doesn’t have a homecoming. Syracuse doesn’t have a homecoming. I’ve done the research. We don’t need a homecoming. Three years gives you a chance to know what it feels like not to have something,” said Billingsley.
Billingsley understands that the idea of Prairie View without a homecoming is taboo to many students but students should understand there is no Prairie View without a degree of quality to sustain it. He said if students are incapable of governing themselves as adults, homecoming will cease to exist until 2016.
“Homecoming means a lot to everybody but to who much is given, much is required and the students have not showed they deserved it,” said Billingsley.