Gossip: why it’s not OK in residence halls

Kerry Quirk, Resident Assistant

It is commonly said that Bryant is like a big family.  It is nearly impossible to walk to the Unistructure without seeing someone I know, or at least a face I recognize.  Usually at least one of my classes has a friend or floormate in it, and even when I go off campus to Target, I see at least one other Bryant student there.  Therefore, it is probably a fair assumption to say that when something happens on campus, everyone hears about it whether through word of mouth or through social media.  However, are the stories we hear really true?  A lot of time, “he-said-she-said” occurs and the message becomes distorted, just like in the childhood game of “Telephone” many of us used to play.  This phenomenon becomes a greater reality in the residence halls, where the walls are paper-thin and gossip travels like wildfire.

Why do we do this?  Why is gossip so important in our daily lives?  It could just be that we want to be “in the know” as college students, or fit in with others by sharing a story.  Maybe there is just some extra-juicy story we desperately need to share, even if it isn’t ours.  Sometimes people gossip to have power over another person, or to prove that they have some information they can hold against them.  Or worse, sometimes people gossip to get revenge on another person who wronged them in the past.

Regardless of the reason Bryant students choose to gossip, it usually doesn’t end well.  As an RA in a freshman dorm, I hear students talking about their roommates, or what party happened, or who got transported. Commonly, they exaggerate the truth or distort the story so much that there is no truth left at all.  More often than not what ends up happening is that the rumors that are spread are more often than not made up.  When the subject of the gossip hears these rumors, their feelings are hurt and there is no way to take back what has already been spread around campus.

A simple way to stop the gossip at Bryant is to just not spread it!  I think sometimes students forget just how truly small our campus is, and how even smaller our residence halls are.  It can be hurtful when you walk into the common bathroom or hallway and hear someone spreading rumors about your roommate, or even worse, you.  It can be difficult for any student to adjust to the college lifestyle, but I believe it is especially difficult for residential students when gossip occurs so frequently here.  Gossip creates roommate conflicts and can split groups of friends.  Gossip causes less attention to be spent on classes, clubs and sports.  If we chose to simply not spread it, maybe these problems could be eliminated and students could have a more meaningful experience here.  As students living up to the character of success at Bryant, if we hear gossip, whether it is in the residence halls or in Salmo, it is our job to stop the cycle and encourage a community on campus.  Whether or not you enjoy living here, living at Bryant in a residence hall becomes most students’ home for nine months.  We should strive to make the experience enjoyable and welcoming for everyone, and a critical step in that is stopping gossip.

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