Information is knowledge. I’ve always been a strong believer in the idea that knowing is better than not knowing, and that accessible information is one of the most important factors in making decisions.
When the UW released an email informing the university community that two level-three sex offenders were enrolled in courses for winter quarter, it was shocking. I’m used to the alerts that say someone was mugged in a dark alley in the middle of the night, or that there was a potential chemical hazard in some obscure building on campus. So reading that registered sex offenders were now fellow students was a surprise.
Regardless of the shock, I’m glad I know.
I’m not terrified or planning on running through the Quad yelling about how these guys shouldn’t be here — there’s no reason to overreact. But I am more comfortable knowing that a guy sitting next to me in my 10:30 section may have an abnormally colored past.
Just to be clear, I’m not saying that these guys’ past actions are forgettable. They’re not. The two men committed crimes that are indescribably cruel and beyond justification.
It’s simple to continue expressing anger, hatred, and revulsion toward these men, but a more productive thing to do would be to help them move on from their past and help them become successful members of society. As far as I’m concerned, they did their time and fulfilled their punishment.
Are they remorseful? That, I’m not sure of. But hopefully so.
Are they trying to become better people and move forward? I have no idea.
But from what I do know, I’d rather have them trying to continue their education so they can contribute something to society rather than some alternative. They get some points for working to assimilate back into a learning environment — and a prestigious one at that.
So am I thrilled that we’ve got some sex offenders as potential classmates? No, not really, but it’s better than some other possibilities that I’m in no position to mention here.
As far as the mass email the university sent out: I’m grateful for it. People on campus are more aware of who surrounds us, sits next to us, and learns among us.
Knowing is always better than not knowing, and will ultimately help us make the best, informed decisions possible.
Reach Opinion Editor Katie Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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