Xavier does not value its own values

Campus News Editor Kevin Thomas argues that the $2 million Chartwells deal does not align with Xavier’s Jesuit values.

On Xavier’s website, under the “Mission & Identity” section, it lists Xavier’s values as reflection, discernment, solidarity and kinship, service rooted in justice and love, cura personalis and magis. I would like to examine two of those values: solidarity and kinship and service rooted in justice and love.

These are the definitions according to the website:

“SOLIDARITY and KINSHIP invites us to walk alongside and learn from our companions, both local and afar, as we journey through life.”

“SERVICE ROOTED IN JUSTICE AND LOVE invites us to invest our lives into the well-being of our neighbors, particularly those who suffer injustice.”

It seems interesting to me that two of Xavier’s core values involve a commitment to the community. It almost seems that a commitment to the greater community would be something that is highly valued by our esteemed university, and yet, that can’t be, at least not when the administration is planning on giving a near complete monopoly for on-campus food options to Chartwells. This means that three local eating establishments – two of them native to Cincinnati and the other a Xavier-exclusive pub – would be pushed off our campus.

If the school were to sign a contract with Chartwells, given that the group has pledged $2 million to renovate the basement of Gallagher (after a survey of 1200 students that has left a number of people questioning who these students were and what the exact results of this survey were that makes some people believe a renovation is necessary), then I think it would be apparent that a commitment to the greater Cincinnati community is not something that our university truly pays attention to. It would seem that closing three local food sources on campus and giving complete control over all retail in Gallagher Student Center to a group that is based out of the United Kingdom would be a step in a direction that values not commitment to community but commitment to whoever has money to be freely spent on renovations that are not apparently necessary.
It would also seem weird, given a commitment to the community and an invitation for people to “invest our lives into the well-being of our neighbors, particularly those who suffer injustice,” (according to the Worker Rights Consortium) to have the logo of a company known for sweatshop labor and the exploitation of people for the highest profit emblazoned on all of our athletic apparel.

I never understood the phrase, “Truth is stranger than fiction,” but it seems pretty strange for an institution to care more about who has the capital for whatever project it wants to get done when it’s an institution run by a group of people who call themselves the followers of Jesus. You know, the guy who said it was harder for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle and that the meek are the ones who are blessed, for they will inherit the Earth.
Values don’t exist to give an entity a pretty face. They exist as a set of guidelines for the entity that decides on them to follow and to continue their existence accordingly.
I would like to make a rather radical request of the university that receives around $54,000 (scholarships excluded) worth of yearly tuition from me: stick to your values. Please.

Kevin Thomas is a sophomore English and philosophy double major. He is the Campus News Editor for the Newswire from St. Louis.