Rachel Barnhart has taken the Campus Times article “College Town still slated for 2014 amid student angst” and used it to portray UR students as lazy. Her article on the Rochesterian website puts the idea out to the community that UR students are whining and complaining about a short, fifteen minute walk from our campus to College Town. Indeed, the Campus Times article does make it look like the majority of the student population is in an uproar because we have to walk a mile from the heart of our campus to the College Town location. The article does not state how many students were interviewed or how they were polled. For all we know, it could have been just a hand-full of friends of the writer of this article. My experience has been just the opposite. When I read the words “Cry me a river,” I was pretty upset at how she implies UR students are crying over nothing.
In her Nov. 25, 2013 blog post “College Town, Too Far” Barnhart says “College Town is one mile from the heart of campus. At Cornell, my dorm was 1.5 miles from Ithaca’s College Town. It was a walk over steep hills. UR students have it pretty easy. There are still dining halls, food stands and convenience stores right on campus for students. But College Town isn’t just for UR undergraduates. It’s also for the 12,000 people who work at the medical center, which is much closer. And, it’s for the larger Rochester community, whose taxpayers are giving and loaning this project millions of dollars. A little walk – along flat terrain – won’t hurt the undergraduates. They won’t remember what it was like before they had more amenities. They won’t want to.”
I haven’t heard a single student complaining about this. True, I am much older than the average student, so I might not be as in touch with the in-crowd as an 18-24 year old working on the Campus Times might be, but I see hundreds of UR students walking all over the place. I walk the short distance from Eastmoreland Drive, through University Park and across the Park Lot to the UR campus daily. Sometimes I take the shuttle, many days I don’t. Many students do the same thing, choosing to walk rather than to ride the shuttle. Many students walk from the UR campus to CVS, Chipotle, or Bunga Burger Bar on a daily basis. Professor Emil Homerin’s “REL 167W – Speaking Stones’” students walk all over the cemetery, up and down the hills, studying the gravestones and the inscriptions. Students jog up and down the Erie Canal Trail in all kinds of weather.
Rachel Barnhart may be justified in being frustrated that tax payer money is being used to partially fund the College Town project. She may be justified in being upset that a transportation hub is no longer in the works for the project and that it’s probable that this project will increase traffic in the area by hosting a 1,500+ car garage instead of encouraging public transportation to be used. She even has a good case when questioning what happened to the plans to put a YMCA in that location. What I wish she wouldn’t have done is take aim at the students by not doing the research herself and using an article written by a student. The research for the article (interviews, polls, etc.) was not that good in the first place, and she, a respected journalist, relies on that for fair and accurate reporting? It doesn’t make sense.
On her Facebook page, area residents have responded with trash.
Bryan Hopkins: Aww, would the little whiners like us taxpayers to buy them all Hover ‘Rounds for Christmas? There is nothing not walkable about the area and transportation is not a problem. Lazy brats.
Linda Boutwell: When I was at West Virginia University, not only did everyone walk everywhere, but it wasn’t flat land like that at/near the UR. How lazy have college students gotten? Disgusting.
Georgia NeSmith: Freaking lazy, privileged bums.
Michael Woolaver: But they will go to the gym and walk or run on the treadmill for an hour….
Jody Paine Mahoney: Suck it up. I work at the hospital and have walked a mile to get to and from work for 20 years. Sorry you won’t get immediate gratification.
Eric Maloney: Americans walk anywhere?? That’s crazy talk. We’re fat for a reason…
Phil Trautman: I don’t want to live in a world in which 20 minutes isn’t walkable. That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read…
When I responded to Barnhart and told her that it was my experience that many students are excited about College Town and that I personally have only heard positive feedback from students, her reply was: “Maybe it doesn’t represent everyone, but the sentiment clearly exists.”
My response was “But why focus on it when it is most likely only a hand full of students? It makes it look like the majority of students feel this way; like we’re all lazy, spoiled rich kids. The sentiment may exist that people who live in the 315 area codes are all rednecks, but that doesn’t make it so, right? Why speak of sentiments? Isn’t reporting supposed to be more factual and accurate?”
So now, because Barnhart personally does not agree with the College Town project, she takes aim at students, based on a very flimsy article in the Campus Times, that probably should not have been written in the first place without better research.
The citizens who responded with these misinformed comments may be under the impression that we’re all stuck-up, little rich kids. They don’t know a thing about the “underprivileged” people, of all ages, who studied their bums off to get the grades needed to be accepted here; those of us who struggle daily to pay rent and buy food, just like they do. Not everyone at UR is wealthy and elite. Some of us are just regular folk who worked hard enough to qualify to be students at UR. All UR students are proud of our university, even when we don’t agree; even when we complain. We come from many backgrounds and income levels. We are diverse, we are determined, and we are proud to be at UR. One thing we are not is lazy.
Mirlin Douglas Issac Moorefield is a member of
the class of 2014.