Should we even be here?

Bryce Olds is a junior
communications major.
He is a guest writer for
the Newswire from Ilion,

I want to make this very clear to you before you start reading: I am not a medical expert. I’m like you, just a student in our little community. 

I would put a lot of money on the fact that this question has also rattled in your mind and trust me, you are not alone. 

I’m a transfer junior, and I spent my first two years at a local school where I grew up in upstate New York so I not only waited longer than most to get the taste of the “real college experience,” but I also only have half the time to experience it. So when I say that I want to be here more than anything else on the planet, I mean that sh*t. 

I won’t waste your time on the obvious; you already know a college campus is far from an ideal place to be when a highly contagious virus is hitting the country. What I want to ask you is this: Is the Xavier community doing enough to make you feel safe outside of your room? 

For me, the short answer is yes, I do feel like Xavier is doing a good job countering COVID-19. 

The long answer to that question is I’m nervous. I’m nervous about what happens if things do get too bad. I’m nervous that COVID-19 cases getting out of control on campus is a when and not an if. I’m just overall nervous about all of this, but we can only do our best, and so far I think things are going OK.

 Beyond the question of safety is the moral one: Why were we brought back? The four largest schools in Ohio — Ohio State, the University of Cincinnati, Ohio University and Kent State University — all reopened their doors this semester just like we did here. Why though? The main reason, at least in my eyes, is the financial incentive. 

See, these schools make an absolutely massive amount of money by us just being on campus. 

I calculated out the cost of living at every on-campus option here at Xavier. The average cost to live on campus came out to $4,288.50 per student. 

U.S. News estimates that about 3,566 students live on Xavier’s campus. If these two figures are true, Xavier University made around $15.3 million just by us coming to live here this fall, and that’s without me even factoring in a meal plan or the cost of credit hours. 

I want to make this point explicitly clear: Any school that brought their students back to campus did it because they wanted the money. I’m not saying Xavier doesn’t care if you’re safe or not or that Xavier didn’t want its students back. 

They do care and want us to be safe, and I think they absolutely wanted us back. But would I say they brought us here because it was the safest option? No, and I don’t think I’m in the wrong for saying that either.    

 Another very important number is campus COVID-19 results. Xavier tells us that there are 23 active cases as of Aug., 27 but we did jump from four to 23 cases in just two days. 

My personal rule of thumb is always to assume the number is actually a little higher. Again, I am no medical expert and I am a bit of a cynic, but it is probably logical to assume that we are missing some positives in these results.

If you are like me, you want to be here too, but there is a responsibility in that. 

You absolutely cannot violate the gatherings policy, as badly as you may want to. Please try your best to adhere to what is being presented to you, and remain willing to change your way of living at an instant. 

If Xavier decides to change a certain policy and you don’t like it, too damn bad! If you want any chance at all at finishing this semester on campus, follow the rules, wear your mask and try to keep yourself in situations where you can socially distance. 

The best mindset to have in this situation is “we can do this,” and I do believe we can, even if it’s difficult. Stay safe, and let’s try to do the seemingly impossible.