Let me start out by saying that I love West Chester. I love West Chester University and I love West Chester Borough, but I still have my qualms. While I do not have a “95 theses” to post on the door of Asplundh, I do have the following grievances that many of you may either share with me or not be aware of.Several news articles in recent news, no pun intended, have berated students for their ill mannered behavior. I am not writing this article to condone the actions of some students nor am I writing to defend the student body reputation. Rather, I am writing this article to attack the hypocrisy of the Borough and condemn the University for it’s inaction in supporting and addressing the issues of its students.
To begin, lets look at Church Street – specifically between – Sharpless and Rosedale. Anyone who has ridden the bus to Church Street can tell you first- hand that you can save on the cost of Disneyland when you get the full Indiana Jones experience riding the bus to south campus. With the number of potholes that exist, the trip makes for one bumpy ride. Taking this into account, it would seem that while the borough has no problem collecting the coins from meters and ticketing cars, it certainly seems to have its reservations to fixing the quality of the street.
In response to Nancy Petersen’s article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, I would like to know where she found her information regarding taxes. As a student who works, I find my paycheck swindled from me in the form of EMS taxes, township taxes, county taxes and state taxes all in a state where I am not even a registered voter. To top it off, I pay taxes to my home state, in addition to what is already deducted. I thought taxation without representation was kind of what we rallied over to declare our independence.
If taxation without representation is not enough, the Borough has passed housing restrictions to control who can rent houses to students. This limits the supply while maintaining the demand for housing, thereby, increasing the price for off campus student housing.
Enough about the Borough though, let’s discuss the University. Two words, medical amnesty. Which does the University value more: punishing students or protecting their well being? Does it bother anyone that we have more police vehicles than EMT vehicles or the fact that it takes a medic at least double the time to arrive to an emergency than it does an officer? I ask simply, where are the University’s priorities?
I really think one of the saddest aspects of West Chester University, however, is the lack of department cohesion. Besides my own experiences, I have heard countless stories of students being denied enrollment in classes, which are required for their major as elective credits, simply because the department chooses to close the class to anyone not in the major. We as a University may really want to see an optometrist, as our vision statement is clearly not as 20/20 as it is written here, “A commitment by faculty, staff, and administrators to provide access and to serve effectively the educational needs of a diverse student body.”
That isn’t the only thing the University does not have a solidified stance on. Some majors, such as Communications Studies, do not recognize religious holidays as excused absences. I can tell you first hand that the University will not stand behind you if you decide to practice your faith rather than attend class; even if that absence will result in the loss of class points.
To end my tirade, let me share one more personal story. I am a California resident and wished to vote absentee in the last election. On average it takes about four to five days to ship across the country. I applied for my absentee ballot almost three weeks before the deadline. I checked my mailbox daily to no avail. I received my ballot the day before the election. Short of shipping my ballot overnight, I had no way of casting my vote. While the University’s mail system may not always hinder democracy I have heard many stories of late bills and delayed essentials. In the words of my peers, “what’s up with that?”
We are all part of the West Chester community whether we contribute directly or indirectly and whether the borough likes it or not. We cannot simply pick up our bags, close our eyes and walk backwards from this mountain nor allow the University to refuse us protection while the borough, quite literally, runs students out of town. The most appalling acts however, are when the University abandons us within the confines of Sharpless and Rosedale. Lastly I have a few words for the student representation mentioned in Nancy Petersen’s article. “Stop peeing on people’s lawns!”
-Hershel Cohen (Online Editor)