Letter to the Editor: Honor Code disregarded in bookstore thefts

To the Editor:

Between the end of January and the middle of February, roughly 500 of our most expensive textbooks were removed illegally from the textbook section of your Bookstore.

Since this is a felony-weight crime currently and appropriately being investigated by the City of Meadville Police, I’m not interested in who did it.

What I am interested in is whether the Honor Code is still relevant: not just academically, but in a  more general sense as expressed in Article I of the Code as follows,

“…it is the moral obligation of each student to help maintain the moral integrity of the entire college community.”

To me, that means not just the moral integrity of the academic sphere, but that of the entire community.

A couple of things disturb me about this incident.

The first is a Yak from a couple weeks after the term started, in which a grammatically-challenged Gator responded to a comment about textbooks at the Bookstore being too expensive by Yakking (Yikking?) back “Just take what you need, everyone does it seriously.”

As much as I might enjoy a mental image of uniformly stone-faced book thieves, I’d really like to know if anyone else finds this troublesome.

Second, given the scope of the crime – the quantity of books removed in a short period of time, the extensive foreknowledge of the value of certain inventory, and the tactical acumen to carry out the plan – I find it hard to believe that a crime of this magnitude could be discharged without anyone else in the larger community seeing or sensing anything out of the ordinary.

So here’s three questions to ponder: Given our community experience, as dictated and defined by the Honor Cole, where does theft fit into our expressed moral values?

Is the Honor Code still relevant to our moral integrity and does it still consistently define and dictate our behaviors?

Does the cloak of guaranteed anonymity that Yik Yak offers grant us all a commensurate amnesty if we choose to look the other way?

I look forward to a constructive discussion.

Pete LeBar, Bookstore manager