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The Charger Bulletin

Neutrality: Don’t Attack Me for It

The Charger Bulletin

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By Billy Fogarty

Alumnus, Class of 2009

I still vividly remember logging into Facebook and seeing my friend Jess’s status: “Oh my. University can no longer promise housing for upperclassmen? Cue uproar.” I was mildly surprised with how quiet Facebook stayed for a few days. Then, a Facebook group was created and it all hit the fan. What was supposedly started as a way to organize students’ concerns quickly became a free-for-all with personal and immature attacks flying left and right at the administration, the faculty, and anyone who remained neutral.

When I was a wee undergraduate at the university, I worked as an RA, a tour guide, an orientation leader, and a bursary student in multiple departments. One of the first places that I considered to be home, the university has long held my loyalty and I am shocked and perturbed by the number of students that turned against UNH. God forbid that someone take a neutral or positive position, because the entire population of the university will descend upon them and accuse them of not standing up for their fellow students’ rights. After all, there can only be one valid opinion and it has to be the popular opinion that UNH has “once again screwed over its students.”

Let me take a moment to say that I maintain neutrality. But when people begin attacking the university and the entire student affairs department (both of whom I owe a-plenty), I’m going to step in to defend them.

In my opinion, this decision was inevitable and I’m honestly surprised that it took as long as it did. Many students posted on Facebook items suggesting they believe that universities guaranteeing housing for only 1-2 years is uncommon. I jumped onto Google and within a few minutes found a half a dozen schools that do follow this policy. I’m sure that if someone searched a little more extensively, even more would appear in the results.

I realize that many of the tour guides have told incoming students that we guarantee housing for all four years. I was one of them. However, in “A”-Team, we’re trained by the older tour guides. So, the misconception of the guarantee was passed along generation to generation. However, the day came that I read through my housing contract more carefully and realized that what I was saying was incorrect and I adjusted my tours accordingly. Hopefully, this will be a lesson to everyone to read every bit of fine print before you sign something.

Ignorance isn’t an excuse and definitely is not going to work in the post-graduation world.

Do I think the university poorly handled the way they broke the news to the students? Perhaps. One semester isn’t really a lot of time to figure out a new living situation. However, I found an apartment in downtown West Haven in three days this past summer. And I don’t understand why everyone believes West Haven to be some insidious, crime-infested place. I go out for a run every night and have yet to even see a sinister looking shadow.

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Neutrality: Don’t Attack Me for It