Seeing both sides: Freshman cars

by Peter Lampley

Why should freshmen be allowed to have cars on campus?

Well gosh, let me think.

There are a couple of reasons worth mentioning. I’ll start off with the ones that are so obvious that it hurts to think that anyone can overlook them, then I’ll move on to the ones that just plain offend me and if, by the end, you aren’t convinced that a ban on freshman cars is the worst thing since un-sliced bread then I will literally eat someone’s hat. Don’t believe me? My name is in the directory. I’m dead serious.


I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s this thing I’ve been dealing with called THE SEWANEE BUBBLE. Just take a moment to think about it. Can you imagine being isolated on the mountain, exiled in some kind of hellish ‘campus appreciation’ operation for the near-complete duration of your freshman year? I can barely maintain my sanity as it is, and I’ve only been able to leave campus a few times for winter break and a ramen run to the Piggly Wiggly. To think that you can just dump a steaming fresh load of immobile freshmen on Sewanee’s lap without any sort of consequences is absurd. They’re going to want to get out of here the second they arrive, and if you don’t give them an outlet, then they’ll tear each other apart like rats in a cage clawing for escape. And if you are a heartless wretch/upper-class supremacist and don’t care about the troubles of the freshman class, bear in mind that we’re stuck in the same cage.

“But what about upper-classmen? Can’t freshmen just bum rides off some older friends?”

First of all, thanks for interrupting me. That’s real polite.

And second of all, maybe instead of answering this question, I should try to scoff and sigh at the same time so that I can express both rage and resignation that you could have such a ridiculous idea. Please, a freshman with upper-classmen friends? That’s unlikely enough as it is, but not only that, upper-classmen friends that would be willing to act as some dopey first-year’s private chauffeur? Maybe you should quit downing fistfuls of happy pills and stop kidding yourself. When freshmen get here, they hardly have any friends. Maybe they’ll find a few chums in their own class, but let’s be honest, they’re lucky if they can even get a word in edgewise with their AP without getting funny looks in return. No one wants to be friends with a freshman (what could they possibly have to offer?) and no one is going to want to give them a ride unless they’re paying, and even then, it’s going to have to be a pretty hefty sum to overcome the unthinkable stigma of cross-class fraternization.

What’s next? Oh, that’s right. Parking spaces, that’s what this is all about right?

“We just don’t have enough parking spaces for the expanding student body. Taking away freshman cars would ease the strain on our already limited parking areas and make life easier for everyone.”


Let me start by saying that parking is by no means constrained. You think you’ve got it bad? Have you ever tried to park your oversized jeep in a crowded Boston suburb? You’d be doing well to find enough space to parallel park a Segway let alone a space that didn’t also have a timed meter hungry for a whole goddam roll of quarters. You talk as if Sewanee was the tenth ring of hell; I say it is the Promised Land! The most you have to walk if you don’t happen to land the most convenient space known to man, (if you have to walk very far at all) is a couple hundred yards. Wake me up when the only available space is in Monteagle and I’ll concede we have a parking problem, but until then, I apologize if your plight seems trivial.

“But freshmen don’t really need cars, why can’t they just do without?”

Congratulations, you win. You’re right and my argument’s invalid. I was foolish to think I could convince you or anyone else of something that is clearly false. I sure am an idiot.

In case you were wondering (and I sincerely hope that you were not) that was all sarcasm. So, assuming you’re done being wrong and are ready to re-enter the real world, I’d suggest getting out your umbrella, because it’s going to be raining cold hard facts up in here.

It doesn’t take a genius and/or an economics major to differentiate between wants and needs. You don’t need loud music, bad dancing or the copious amounts of alcohol that are usually required to enjoy it, but I bet I know how most of you are going to spend the weekend. Some things aren’t necessary, but Thor Almighty, we have them anyway. Obviously freshmen don’t need cars on campus, but they certainly want them, and why shouldn’t they have them? It’s no real skin off our nose to share what supposedly little parking we have.

Maybe they’ll just want a breath of fresh air every once in a while without having to desperately thrust their thumbs toward anybody and everybody who might be brave (or stupid) enough to pick up a hitch-hiker (safety be damned).

Maybe they’d rather spend the hard-earned cash their parents send them on actual consumer goods and not week-old rotting fruit and cigarettes at the Sewanee Market.

Maybe they believe in FREEDOM.

Regardless, a ban on freshman cars is not just pointless. It is sadistic, diabolical and just plain wrong. And so are you if you think it’s a good idea.