President bans headphones to promote peer interaction

Illustration by Hayden Wilkins

In a departure from what has become standard campus etiquette, the Lewis & Clark administration announced that they will be banning all individualized listening mechanisms, such as headphones, in order to promote more interaction among the student body. 

In an Instagram post on Monday, the user @notswimswievel illustrated the antisocial campus conditions which prompted the decision. 

“Picture this: It is eight in the morning at LC and you are trudging through the Portland fog. You see the rush of students in a silent, mindless stream. They are all so caught up in their playlists that they completely ignore each other and the world around them. It is our duty to help rehab the ability of students to socialize if we have any hope to provide the world with socially-capable denizens.” 

Hundreds of students pushed back on the post and its deterministic assertion about how one is meant to exist in society. Deci Boll ’23 is one student in favor of the listening device ban.

“The lack of social interaction might be harmless during a walk to class, but in other situations things are getting out of hand,” Boll said. “In residence hall bathrooms, students stare absently into the mirror, nearly unreactive to their surroundings. It is like their headphones keep them in a perpetual state of internal crisis.” According to several students, their peers have even stopped dying their hair together, once a common sight in LC restrooms.

Professors have complained about the uptick in emails being signed without “Best” or even “Thanks.” 

Perhaps the most concerning side effect of the decline in socialization for professors is that students allegedly no longer know how to make small talk in office hours. When surveyed, most students could not even name their professor’s third cat or identify their professor’s least favorite household chore. 

A similar study conducted in 2007 revealed that nearly 82% of all students at that time could name at least one of the two. 

Previous attempts have been made by administration to foster interaction on campus. Faculty has handed out t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan, “Size matters: Small talk makes a Big difference.” In February 2020, the Moss Petting Zoo in Watzek Library provided a brief glimmer of hope for spontaneous socializing when students bonded over their fuzzy friends. While this event may have sparked hope for breaching the isolation, the additional social setbacks posed by physical distancing decidedly wiped out any progress that was made.

With different music blasting all over campus, students will have to choose between accepting others’ music tastes and shutting them out completely. Some fear this will prompt starker divisions along generic lines. 

By the second week of the headphone ban, Mitski fans established strongholds in the ravine, causing communal complaints about groaning and crying echoing from the space. Swifties painted Agnes Flanagan Chapel red to symbolically and physically occupy the space for nondenominational Tworship (“Taylor Worship”). The Kanye die-hards have begun digging trenches beneath Templeton to fundamentally destabilize the foundation of the new construction through seismic bass activity. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fans were unavailable for comment. 

Adjunct Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies Cass Ettape hypothesized that the exposure to other music will ultimately squash the genre divisions over time. 

“Eventually, these dark days will pass,” Ettape said. “Through continuous exposure to different tastes, students will become more accepting, and by the next Spotify Wrapped they will even have more than two different colors in their Audio Aura. Maybe, just maybe, instead of trudging to class alone in a plugged-in world, students will share a smile, a chat.” 

This new rule may just be the most successful administrative undertaking at LC since Fields Dining Hall began serving quesadillas. Some students even reported feeling confident enough to look their professor in the eye and ask how Felix’s vet visit went.

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