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I have read Washington City Paper for all four years that I have been at Howard University and never been mad enough to comment on any article. But the article on Howard University’s taking responsibility for the streets that run right in the middle of campus surrounded by private property was biased and completely without merit (“Cul-de-Sacking the Community,” 10/24).
First of all, the article failed to mention that the HUSA vice president is in favor of the street privatization, because like many Howard students she has been a victim of on-campus crime. Nor did it mention that Matthew Watley, the graduate student trustee, was also in favor of the the street privatizationan individual who has received his undergraduate degree from the university and has been at Howard for a total of six years. Nor was I, the undergraduate trustee, contacted for my stand on this issuenever mind the fact that I have been the victim of two on-campus incidents involving non-Howard students.
The article does not deal with the fact that the majority of crimes that have taken place this year on campus have occurred on one of the streets being considered for privatization. Nor does it deal with the fact that MPD does not patrol these streets for crime. The article ignores the fact that students do not feel safe on their campus.
What the article does deal with is the constant bashing of Howard University. It talks about the community always being taken advantage of without mentioning all of the community outreach by students and the university. It does not talk about the hospital, which is the only one in the District besides D.C. General that provides health care to uninsured residents, at a $5 million cost to the university. It does not talk about the work that the School of Social Work does in the public housing development in the neighborhood that has made it a model development. It does not mention all of the service (the sickle cell center, the family outreach center, the Crestar program, the work in the local school district) that the university does, nor does it mention the thousands of hours students give in community service.
Once again, the community has bashed Howard without mentioning what Howard does for it. Here is a suggestion: Ask what other District universities are doing in their community. Tony Norman complains that Howard officials routinely act without regard for the community. Maybe he should think what this community would be like without Howard in it. You know, Tony, if community leaders would talk to students instead of bashing them, or if they took their own advice and talked to us about our concerns once in a while (in all four years at Howard I have never seen a community leader speak to students on campus who didn’t want something from students), the community around Howard would really become one, and this article would have never needed to be written.