Letter to the editor: Improve off-campus security

David Holloway

After the latest attack on a (grad) student at our prestigious university, I have to wonder when—or if—something (anything!) is going to be done about the living conditions off campus. I find it highly ironic that while the University is busy turning the South Forty into Candy Land, students are getting mugged, beaten and robbed in and around their less than prestigious off-campus apartments. While I understand that the new South Forty is primarily intended to impress the money right out of Daddy’s wallet and into the Chancellor’s lap, what I don’t understand is how the University can stand behind its off-campus housing situation.

And it IS a situation. What happened to that grad student this past week is not unusual. How many of your friends have been held up at gunpoint, stripped of their wallets, phones, and wedding rings? But at least they have their education. The University needs to build off-campus housing for students who don’t/can’t live on campus. A great many universities (even STATE universities, Dr. Wrighton) have complexes and housing for grad students and upper class undergraduates. So why don’t we? Hell, the one at Stanford is the size of a small city and even has its own bar.

Grad students who make next to nothing essentially have two options: sign on with Quadrangle (don’t sign on with Quadrangle!), or bag a Special Someone who has a real job and who has the monetary capital to make everything better. Undergraduates who choose to live off campus may have no options…That’s why the University needs to devote some of its cranes and hardhats and executive meetings to off-campus housing. Although it may install more security cameras, offer more counseling and get more carts to drive around the block, this problem will not go away. It’s time for plan B, which should have been plan A.

David Holloway
Graduate Student, Class of 2013

  • I agree with the letter while simultaneously criticizing it because we can have it both ways. A grad dormitory on North Campus would not be big enough to house all the grad students, and most would probably move out after a year or two, to find cheaper housing in the neighborhood, but only after having become comfortable with our neighborhood. This is especially important for international students, who may be suffering from culture shock. A grad dorm would also foster a sense of community among grad students, especially if it included meeting and social space.

    Such an arrangement worked well at UPenn. I stayed in one of two Grad Towers my first year, then moved out into the neighborhood with my computer-assigned roommate (a good choice, because we got along fine). We kept up with our old friends from Grad B. Had this housing option not been available, I probably would have gone to another school, one that did offer graduate housing, because moving into an unfamiliar city can be quite terrifying, even for an adventurous grad student.

    UCSB had no graduate housing, but it did have the University Students Rochdale Housing Cooperative, which served just as well, or better.

  • Dah Dah

    Why is this on studlife’s website twice? http://www.studlife.com/forum/2010/01/20/wu-needs-to-build-off-campus-housing/

    Hopefully you guys didn’t print it in the newspaper twice too.

    I don’t get the last paragraph of the article. There are plenty of housing choices other than quadrangle, many of which are less expensive.

    Stanford also has a tree lined drive that looks to be a mile long into their campus and lots of free land. Stanford is able to have their students live in a bubble. It’s funny that Jerome Bauer is agreeing with the article while simultaneously criticizing the bubble that David Holloway wants to replicate for grad students. Wash U is an urban campus that wants to coexist with their neighbors. Many neighbors have a fear of exactly what David is proposing and the Town-Gown relations would suffer horribly if the university created anything like it.

  • PS to my comment above: I would also like to see more coverage, in WashU’s independent student newspaper, of so-called “non-traditional” students enrolled in the University College, who are typically older, less privileged, and arguably more mature than the average WashU undergraduate. Not all WashU students live in the WashU Bubble.

  • David makes a good point: grad students are too often neglected by the University, and ignored by Student Life, even though this is supposed to be a research university, much of whose work is done, and whose prestige is derived from, its graduate students.

    We had this problem at UPenn too. For a time, we had our own newspaper, “The Graduate Perspective,” funded by graduate student government, to balance the undergraduate edited Daily Pennsylvanian. Why don’t we do this here? This could be done straightaway in the Student Life online edition. Perhaps a regular column or supplement could be added to the print edition, in lieu of an independent newspaper.

    Lecturer Dr. Jerome Bauer
    –sometime President, Graduate Student Associations Council, University of Pennsylvania

  • Whatever happened to the graduate dormitory supposed to have been planned for the North Campus, right next to the Delmar Metrolink stop, a great place for a dormitory (but a bad place for a “clean coal” plant, the new plan)? Whatever happened to the bicycle path supposed to connect this to the Danforth Campus?

    “It’s time for Plan B, which should have been Plan A”

    Lecturer Dr. Jerome “John Hancock” Bauer
    –local taxpayer and STILL a local homeowner, STILL living in the Company Town