Though basketball season just kicked off last week, students are already feeling the full effects that games bring to campus beyond enjoying the student section. As in years past, safety becomes an issue. Unfortunately, this year is worse than previous seasons, and it is clear that the administration gives more priority to basketball revenues than to student safety.
The first problem area seems to be the “normal” spaces that are designated as special for game days. Traffic flow is diverted from the norm, disrupting the rhythm of campus life. In addition, drivers who are not familiar to Xavier’s campus are also probably unfamiliar with the habits of student pedestrians on campus, who forcefully assert their right of way. Xavier is mostly a walking-only campus, and students cannot be expected to change their habits only on game days.
To add to the problem, most suburban drivers won’t be familiar with cyclists in general, or Xavier’s growing cyclist community in particular. It’s only a matter of time before one gets hit, and the administration needs to address this issue by directing traffic flow, not by restricting the activities of student cyclists.
Xavier often touts its efforts to engage with the surrounding communities. The fiasco also known as “event parking” has been known to fill parking lots, and game attendees and students are advised to seek street parking.
This not only is a severe inconvenience for game attendees, but it also disservices Norwood residents and students who live in Norwood. No doubt, some find strange cars parked in front of their houses, or worse, in their parking spots. Directing game attendees off-campus does not respect the neighborhood sufficiently.
Most importantly, to keep these lots empty commuter students have to park at great distances, creating a long, dangerous walk if they choose to stay on campus late at night. This is one of the number one issues, and ought to be given priority consideration.
There are some easy ways to address the problems. Keeping the intersection to Bellarmine Chapel open to traffic is one important concern. Students have a right to travel across their own campus.
Basketball games are not unimportant to Xavier life, but it seems that students who actually attend the university ought to get some consideration in game day policies.