Everyone at UMASS knows about the Tyler Molander situation, and if you don’t, you should probably put down the bowl and grab a copy of the Collegian. It’s pretty big news here.
For those of you NOT at UMASS, heres a quick write up-
A lone student slipping hundreds of letters under dormitory doors in an attempt to start a “friend” club for students with varying social interests. Asked them all to meet him at Bluewall (A popular on campus restaurant located in the campus center) at 6pm, and apparently never showed. Sounds good in theory, right? It would have been, if the last line had not been “Please don’t come if you are acquainted with me, I apologize, but just trust me.” A little sketchy to say the least. I’d say it has a definite “Columbine” feel to it. That final line is what sent a lot of students into a lot of panic, prompting the presence of plain clothes police officers at Bluewall that evening.
Who knew one sentence could create such shit across an entire campus.
Needless to say, administrative action has been taken and Molander is currently back home in Cape Cod weighing his options. In an interview with the Collegian, Molander discuses how Enku Gelaye, the UMASS Dean of Students, is pressuring him to withdraw from the university. Gelaye claims Molander created a “mass hysteria” atmosphere on campus. Molander also claims Gelaye threatened to have him “forcibly removed” if he didn’t comply with their withdrawal request. Ouch.
Regarding whether or not Molander should withdraw, I personally think not. His letter was sketchy, yes, but technically he did nothing wrong. However, I would suggest a basic psychology of human behavior course if he ever wants to write for the public again.
Let is also be noted that this was not his first attempt at starting an RSO (registered student organization). His freshman year he created a UMASS “Philosophy and Open Thought Club”, keeping it afloat as its president for two years, and this past fall taking a more backseat role as its secretary. Molander is a junior. He states a reason for him trying to create this new friendship organization was because he was getting a bit tired of listening to all his friends ramble on about philosophy. Can anyone really blame him for trying to escape that torture? (Only those with philosophically “educated” friends may understand the torture I’m referring to.)
So Molander has experience in starting these organizations. He’s not coming into this blind and ignorant.
Everyone on campus is taking a side with this, and stating an opinion on Molander. Half of them portray him as crazy, needing to leave the university and needing serious psychiatric help. The other half portray him as a sad, lonely kid trying to make a difference in this unforgiving and monstrous social atmosphere we call a school.
And then there is me. (The “1%” of the occupy movement humorously comes to mind here)
Am I really the only person on this campus who thinks he just did this for attention? Think about it. Quiet kid with a strong interest in philosophy, studying sociology, and strong feelings against the current social atmosphere of UMASS. Not getting the attention he wanted for his cause, but having a decent understanding of the UMASS social culture due to his 3 years experience on campus and his strong views against it. He seems smart, quiet, a bit awkward, and eccentric. I don’t mean to generalize, but in my experience kids like that usually love the spotlight when they have it.
So what do people do when they’re not being paid attention to but really, really want that attention? They do something really, really stupid in order to get that attention. He got exactly what he was aiming for.
So the Tyler Molander letter was born.