There are two parallel trains of thought when I think about Hocking College. The first is of fond memories. Of the three institutions of higher education where I’ve been a student, Hocking made up what I would call the ‘college experience’ years. I moved away from my hometown, studied abroad, interned at a high-end recording studio, worked at the school’s recording studio, and made lifelong friends in an ugly impoverished little truck stop of a town. Mistakes were made that would ruin my run at politics and defining experiences were had. It could’ve been Hollywood. This is not to diminish my time at Columbus State or Ohio State, but the essence of my experience at Hocking will always feel like a terrible fantasy world that was different from anything else.
The second train of thought concerns scandal and shame. April of 2007 presented the first murder in Nelsonville since the 1970’s. In 2008 I remember then Hocking president John Light having been investigated for embezzling funds for his own vacations. The following school year saw threats of violence concerning race. Student enrollment numbers are dwindling due to the consistent scandal and perceived quality of programs. Four presidents later and the financial situation still that of corruption, as they operate well below the standards of a responsible institution.
But it’s the most recent reason Hocking’s in the news that has prompted me to write this. Convicted rapist of Steubenville fame (yeah… fame…), Trenton Mays has been accepted with open arms to play for the newly established football team. I wonder if that sort of star power will move enough units to dig the institution out of their own financial mess. In truth, giving Mays the opportunity to play ball at the college level awards Hocking the title of ‘rape culture promoter’. His opprotunity to contribute to a college team serves as an award for bad behavior. Two years in a juvenile detention center and Mays has paid his debt to society. I’m simply not convinced.
This is the sort of shame I associate with my alma mater.