Isolated events don’t account for the masses

By Tyler Vincent

Hold the phone everyone, Justin Syndram is mad. Justin is a columnist for the Ball State Daily News, and boy is he mad at us. His column, “It’s the people that make the place,” was published Nov. 20, and if any reader takes his words to heart, they will be given a mental picture that NIU is a college of savages.

Syndram and a group of Ball State students participated in a resident assistant exchange program with NIU, which involved meeting NIU staff. His tale of woe includes sleeping in a residence hall basement where there was no heat, and, oh no, going bowling on a Friday night!

“With the exception of a few good people, NIU has some of the most rude and hateful people I have ever met,” Syndram said in his sweeping judgement of the entire NIU student body.

Oh, we’re wild-eyed beasts in the shape of college students, eager to physically pummel any student from another MAC conference school who dares set foot in town. And if the current crop of students here in good old DeKalb is similar to past student bodies, most of us already were out of town for the weekend when Syndram and his crew arrived.

“We were to arrive Friday evening and spend a few hours getting to know [NIU’s] staff and just have a little fun,” Syndram said. You can insert the lone violin music here if you are so inclined. “When we stepped off the vans, we were greeted with someone yelling out their window, ‘Kill white people.'”

Well, Justin wasn’t sure if that comment was directed at his group or not, whether it was an “inside joke” among friends or if it was just the loud part of a fragmented conversation, but don’t let him consider those possibilities. He’s on a roll.

After complaining about being taken out bowling on a Friday night (“obviously bowling on a Friday night is not everybody’s idea of a good time”), yelling about Domino’s employees for not calling the police until after the men who beat up the Ball State students fled the scene (“The Domino’s employees were kind enough to call the police after the men fled the scene”) and working up a frenzy about the sleeping facilities provided by NIU (“I kid you not, the temperature was hovering around 50 degrees in there all night”), he tells us about what happened at the football game.

“The next day we attended the football game at NIU against Ball State. We sat with a few of the NIU staff whom brought us our tickets in their student section. This was not a good idea,” he said. “Sure we knew that we would be taunted, but we really didn’t expect to be threatened. At no point in this game did we ever establish a friendly rivalry. We were threatened and eventually security had to escort us from our seats.”

By who, Justin? How many people? What was the threat? Not going to tell us? All right.

This comment, as well as his entire column, is absurd. Speaking as a veteran of many NIU football games, I can truly tell you that I have never seen one fistfight, let alone one serious threat made by members of our student body against anyone in the opposing student section.

Can some fans be rowdy? You bet. Do some of them get a bit out of line? Uh-huh. It’s important to remember that this miniscule percentage of fans exists in every collegiate sporting event, even ones in Muncie, Ind.

Let there be no doubt that some of the events that occurred this weekend were very embarrassing for us as a university. We must always remember that we should put on our best display of behavior for guests of our community, whether they be affiliated with NIU or not. But Syndram does not attack the coordinators for their questionable hospitality arrangements. He does not isolate the individuals who beat up the Ball State students, nor does he chastise them for their act of stupidity. He does not tell us who the people were that “threatened” him in the stadium, whether they even were affiliated with NIU or not and why they were asked to leave the student section.

Syndram instead directs his comments toward us, the entire student population, and our level of “barbarism,” by giving his readers snippets of incidents with no background information, as if this was a coordinated plan. Just to emphasize the point, he referred to how he and others were treated by the “Northern Illinois University student body.”

Yup. That’s you and me. And what’s equally as impressive about that statement is that he can determine the basic character outline of the entire NIU student body via his dealings with a few fools and some allegedly ill-equipped sleeping facilities.

So you say that it’s the people who make the places? You’re right, but before taking hot pokers to all of us, you should attempt to get a better idea about us and go to the bars, coffeehouses or restaurants we go to. Attempt to talk to more NIU people than just your community advising counterpoints who didn’t appear to want to hang out with you anyway.

If anyone goes to Muncie and gets into a fight, does that mean that BSU is a campus full of barbarians? Not at all. And it is completely irresponsible for Syndram to make that deduction of our campus.

But don’t you worry, dear reader. In spite of the treacherous obstacles that we in the student body apparently placed in front of him, Syndram did learn a valuable thing on this trip.

“I did take one positive thing away from this trip, and that is that I am proud to be a Ball State student,” he said.

We’re glad you’re a Ball State student too, Justin.

To read the full text of the column, visit and browse the archives section for the Nov. 20 opinions.