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Opinion: The Hall Raid Tradition is Inconsiderate

KitCat the cat
Photo by Evelyn Summers

Meredith College is a traditions-based community, and these traditions are usually great at helping to contribute a sense of comfort and belonging in the community. Cornhuskin’ is one of the most popular traditions and has even been titled Meredith’s ‘thing.’ With that being said, the hall raid tradition that helps kickstart Cornhuskin’ is extremely inconsiderate and should no longer be around. At first glance, running down the halls banging on pots and pans in the middle of the night seems fun. However, to individuals with autism, PTSD, sensory issues, sleep issues, service animals, Emotional Support Animals (ESAs), students with exams and more, this can be a total nightmare.

Students are notified that the hall raids are happening, but are not given exact dates or times. I personally was notified by Carrie Barnhart, Director of Residence Life, the exact time and date of the raid on my hall because I live with my ESA, KitCat, who (ironically) is there to help with my sensory issues (being an individual with autism). In the email, I was told to take “appropriate measures” to make my ESA comfortable. However, this was almost impossible. It is against the rules for ESAs to be in college facilities apart from on-campus residences and outside, and it would be very inconsiderate to wake up my cat in the middle of the night and take her outside in the freezing cold.

During the raid, I had to sit in my bathroom with the shower on and hold my cat to keep her safe and calm. Despite all of the commotion I went through to keep her comfortable, it still caused me and her major stress. KitCat was scared out of her mind and could not support me in the way she normally could because I had to be her Emotional Support Human. My friend Ro Hennessey, who lives above me on the second floor, shared that she had to set an alarm for 10 minutes before the raid so she could go sit in her car until it was over in efforts to help control any PTSD triggers.

College traditions need to be inclusive, and the hall raids simply aren't. Most traditions here at Meredith are optional, but students are forced to participate in this one because it invades our living spaces in the middle of the night. Students can choose to not participate in raiding other residence halls, but are still subjected to them in their own residence hall. A simple fix for this is to completely get rid of this tradition and any other non-inclusive traditions that are harmful towards students.

By Evelyn Summers, Staff Writer

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As someone who has chronic migraines and also experiences sensory issues, I was often thankful the week of cornhuskin that I was never able to live on campus.

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