Last year, students protested the construction of a fence around the campus basketball courts, arguing that the fence was a symbol of Xavier’s failure to live in solidarity and community with the surrounding neighborhoods.
This past summer, another wall was built between Xavier and the Norwood community.
Although the University Station complex does not serve as a physical barrier, it is a towering emblem of Xavier’s continued withdrawal from the community of which it claims to be a part.
As the apartments are not owned by the university, they offer the ease of campus housing without the bothersome boundaries and surveillance of Resident Life. While it makes sense that students have flocked to U. Station, this new housing option marks yet another retreat into what is nicely called the “Xavier bubble,” but may more fittingly be called an enclave of privilege.
The opportunities students have to interact with community members and learn about the neighborhoods surrounding campus are becoming fewer. This is in direct conflict with Xavier’s mission to promote concepts like solidarity and responsible community engagement. How are students expected to care about the welfare of a community that is entirely nameless and faceless to them?
Off-campus housing was one of the key connections between the university and the community. Now, U. Station offers students yet another opportunity to send well-wishes in the general direction of the community, all without leaving the bubble that is looking more and more like a bastion. Oh, and the couch is included.