A couple weeks ago I wrote a column saying how I felt college students were being unfairly blamed for the rise in cases across the country. 

Well now I’m beginning to think that defense was undeserved. 

I really had hope that my fellow students were trying their best, but the stress of classes and pressure of the pandemic made going out with friends irresistible. That it was the natural result of being cooped up inside and that, overall, they were being responsible.  

But then I saw videos and images of hundreds, if not a thousand, students gathering around some late-20s YouTube celebrities like it was the second coming of the Messiah, shot-gunning beers and basking in the glory of being loved by drunk young adults. 

There is nothing excusable about that. In fact, the only words that consistently come to mind are that it was irresponsible, selfish and stupid. 

So, I’m eating my words. Students like that are exactly the reason that almost 200,000 have died and that hundreds more will die. No, those students specifically didn’t go out and kill scores of people. But others like them, and the selfish, ignorant culture that raised them did. They share that responsibility.

The students gathered in those videos are a small minority of Illinois State University’s population, but they are the perfect indication of what is wrong with the university’s COVID-19 response. They can continue their actions. Oh sure, there’s an investigation, and maybe someone will get suspended or expelled. But nothing will be done to stop the next party or the one after that. The action is retroactive, once the spread has already occurred. 

If I’m being honest though, I don’t blame the university here. I blame the students. I could say that they are selfish and irresponsible. I could tell them that their actions show complete disregard of everyone around them. But those videos made one thing clear: they do not care.

And naturally, of course, the Nelk Boys should know better than to use their platform to promote irresponsible behavior. A look at their YouTube page will show that their whole brand is irresponsible behavior. Fools subscribing to fools, the blind leading the blind. That we all must suffer for it is the way of the world. 

To all those students that went there: shame on you. At the very core of this, you have shown that you cannot be bothered to care about your fellow human if it interferes with your ability to have fun. You cannot be upset if the university shuts down. You can’t complain when your class goes online. You can’t complain if your friend gets sick, or if you get sick. It’s all your fault. 

And to the person that read that and said “Well, what I did wasn’t that bad,” no. It’s all your fault. That’s something you will have to live with. I doubt you feel bad about it.

ELIZABETH SEILS is Editor in Chief of The Vidette. She can be contacted at elseils@ilstu.edu Follow Seils on Twitter at @SeilsElizabeth 

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