After a night at Midtown, my friend was taking a leak — minding his own business — when a police officer surprised him. He was cited for public intoxication and indecency, and was sentenced to appear in front of the University of Florida Student Conduct Committee. They asked him to write an apology. This was his response:
“My interaction with Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution can be attributed to an incident that occurred over the summer in which I was found to have been publicly urinating on campus by an officer of the University Police Department. Fortunately for my well-being and the protection of others around me, the aforementioned officer spotted my shameful action and determined that the proper punishment must be administered. There is no appropriate time for a person to relieve himself in a public setting, especially not in some local shrubbery during the middle of the night. Luckily for me, my actions did not cause harm to any innocent bystanders because I do not know if I could handle the guilt if it did.
Some of the factors that contributed my decision to commit this heinous act include but are not limited to: a full bladder, the feeling of privacy, my belief in the humorous context of the situation, slight intoxication, and of course poor parenting. However, I will not sit here and put blame on these factors because I understand that ultimately I am the one responsible for my actions. I chose to consume something that is a known diuretic, thus allowing my body to become dehydrated and need to expel this excess fluid through a manner that many people consider disrespectful and downright animalistic. If I choose to consume this dehydrating poison again in the future I will be sure to hold off on this need to urinate, even if it means waiting to the point of injury to me and my organs. I should have known that there are few, if any, public restrooms open at that hour on campus and that I should have planned accordingly to accommodate my inevitable dehydration and need to seek relief. Also, I believe there is an underlying problem here that I may not be addressing. And that problem is why I needed to venture out to midtown and seek possible escape in the comforting beverages the local bars have to offer. Maybe it was stress, maybe it was peer pressure, or maybe I wanted to go out with friends and enjoy myself and not have my night ruined by an unnecessary citation for a victimless crime. Whatever the reason may be, the point of the matter is that I need to conduct a self-assessment and determine what my internal motivations are for how and why I do what I do. And I feel confident that I can accurately pinpoint what underlying problems I may have in regards to this particular situation.
This incident has impacted me personally because I have become the subject of ridicule to many of my friends and peers and brothers of my own fraternity house. Once they found out about the incident I was continuously made fun of albeit in a lighthearted manner. But what I was able to glean from this ridiculing was that I needed to do something to fix myself so that something like this would not happen again in the future. So I started practicing techniques for proper urination so that I can make sure that I relieve myself as quickly and quietly as possible. I also became more aware of my surroundings by constantly being on the look-out for potential trouble and locations where I was at a disadvantage. I wanted to be sure that I could find venues for privacy and subtlety, but also venues with a plethora of escape routes in case of an emergency. I understood that I needed to have more heightened awareness and be more flight of foot so that I could completely avoid incidents like this in the future. I believe this incident has made me a more physically fit and mentally focused person and that has carried over into my studies. These habits have formed routines that are easily translatable to how I study and prepare for my classes, thus enabling me to a better student. I can’t think the University Police Department enough for reprimanding me and helping me become a better person.
At the time of the incident there were very few people around to witness this disgraceful act against humanity so my impact against others was limited fortunately. Of the few people that were around though were some friends that I had gone out with to have a good time. Once they saw the sirens flashing I could see that they became gravely concerned for my well-being as well as their own. We all were simply waiting for SNAP to come and pick us up to take everybody home and we all had assumed that this plan would go off without a hitch. But alas, such is the world in which we live, where things do not go right some of the time. And thus, they were forced to wait while I received my arguably lawful punishment. While the officer was writing my citation, I could see the look of disappointment and growing impatience of two of my friends because I knew that they just wanted this whole ordeal to be over so they could go home and get to bed. I ruined their enjoyment for the night with my selfish actions. I slowly began to realize that they would probably not want to go out with me again anytime in the near future so as to avoid any problems like this again. For what felt like the longest week of my life, I was without these two friends that I had met earlier in the summer. I felt like my life had no meaning because I could no longer reminisce in the few but fond memories that we shared without being reminded of that fateful night. However, they were able to forgive me and we became amicable again over drinks the next week, as long as I made sure to use the facilities that were at my disposal before we decided to go anywhere in public. I do not think I could face the embarrassment I would cause them if something like this were to ever happen again.
Two important people that I have forgotten to mention are my parents and how they are involved and affected in this whole situation. The day after the incident I called my parents and informed them of the incident and told them all the penalties involved, such as the fine owed to the city of Gainesville, as well as the actions that I would need to complete in accordance with university policy. My parents were understanding but certainly disappointed in my actions because of all the negative consequences that I would now have to deal with. And I felt truly saddened and disappointed in myself for how I affected them because I knew this was my choice and my responsibility. I could have easily blamed them for this problem because they were the ones that enabled me and allowed me to urinate publicly when I was an infant. At the time society may have accepted it but I wish they would have held me to a higher standard. I feel like this lack of discipline allowed me to become comfortable with urinating in a public setting. If they had properly trained me as a child to use the restroom from a very early age, I feel like I might not have ever had this subconscious idea that urinating in public was acceptable. However, I cannot put total blame on them because it is my body after all and I am the one who is supposed to control my bodily actions. I truly do accept responsibility for my actions, but my parents’ lack of guidance during my infancy surely did not help.
In closing, my decision to urinate publicly has greatly affected my friends, family, peers, mentors, faculty, and the general community of Gainesville. I hope that through this confession of faults I can sincerely try to mend my ways and understand that my bodily fluids do not belong anywhere except within my body or within devices that can transport them to a sewage management facility. I may have lost some of the respect of my friends and family, but I hope to gain that back by proving to them that I do not need a public setting to be able to relieve myself. With this reflection I hope to send the message that people, as well as plants, can be victimized in these situations and that we need to be aware of how this act can harm others. And if you feel the need to commit this atrocity be sure to restrain yourself, even if it causes bodily harm, because there’s a reason why you have two kidneys.”.