University responds to Mulberry Street crossing

Published: March 3, 2016

Student insulted by child-like pamphlet on how to cross street

Aquinas / emma black THE UNIVERSITY department of Student Formation and Campus Life distributed the pamphlets pictured above Monday, “Pedestrian Safety Tips,” with strategies on how to safely cross Mulberry Street.

AQUINAS PHOTO / EMMA BLACK / THE UNIVERSITY department of Student Formation and Campus Life distributed the pamphlets pictured above Monday, “Pedestrian Safety Tips,” with strategies on how to safely cross Mulberry Street.

Commentary by
MATTHEW DEFRENZA

The University has made its fair share of questionable decisions during my three years here, but its recent decision to distribute handouts with information on how to cross a street is one of the most incompetent yet.

I came across a small handout while eating on third-floor DeNaples that presented a rendering of the new pedestrian stop signs with “Pedestrian Safety Tips” underneath.

Upon flipping the card over, I was astonished to find that The University had actually invested money teaching its student body how to cross a street.

Now, a school whose accepted students rate stands at 77 percent, according to US News, as compared to the national average of 77 percent for community colleges nationwide according to Community College Review, obviously forgoes academic worthiness for monetary availability when regarding its applicants, but even then, this is a low estimation of the student body’s intellectual capability.

Some of the handout’s tips include: “Stop and look both ways before crossing,” “Obey traffic signs and signals,” “Always utilize crosswalk signaling systems,” “Use designated pedestrian crosswalks,” “Do not become distracted,” “Do not assume drivers see you,” and “Adhere to Pennsylvania law.” But, in case the student body was unable to comprehend those rules, taught to us by our mothers and fathers before we ever learned our times tables, the card further clarifies.

By “crosswalk signaling systems,” the card meant “the pedestrian warning lights located in the crosswalks on Mulberry Street.”

What a novel idea, to have crosswalk signaling systems within a crosswalk.

Regarding the same point, it clarifies that “At the intersection of Linden and Jefferson press the ‘Push to walk’ button and wait for the walk signal.”

In regards to not making assumptions that the drivers actually pay attention to the road in front of them, it clarifies, “Even in designated crosswalks it is important to make sure that motorist acknowledge you before crossing the street.”

So while people are buzzing down Mulberry Street doing 50 or 60 mph, I’ll be sure to peer into the driver’s soul and see if he or she is intent on halting.

In a contradiction that almost seems too idiotic to dispute, the card follows up the latest point by saying, “Do not attempt to cross a street until the roadway is clear of traffic.”

Really?

Vehicles are not required to stop unless you are within a crosswalk.” Some true geniuses put this one together.

If that isn’t idiotic and allowing for an accident, I don’t know what is.

I am astonished at The University’s Student Formation and Campus Life department for not only assuming that each student here is an absolutely daft imbecile but for conveying the assumption that the student body is rife with daft imbeciles.

And where is the Student Government on this? You know, the people elected to convey the thoughts of the student body that they govern?

Why haven’t they started uproar over this issue? Isn’t it there job to represent the interests of the student body? Under our President Chris Kilner’s job description on the Student Government website, it says that the student body president is to convey “the administration’s point of view to the student body.” So he’s the administration’s puppet?

All I’m saying is simply, it’s wonderful that they have these big forums and meetings, and I am sure that they do some good, but if the only thing that came from their forum regarding the issue of Mulberry Street Feb. 18 ago were the pamphlets and the pedestrian stop signs, they have gravely failed in finding a solution.

What does the Student Formation and Campus Life’s informational card convey toward the worth of a University of Scranton degree?

If the powers that be felt it necessary to teach students that they accepted into The University how to cross a street, how can they possibly hand a student a college degree?

How could students who they feel are incapable of crossing a street go out into the world and handle money, handle the education of the youth, handle the health and lives of people? And what does it say to those students who were struck, who spent time in hospitals, like Meghan Rose, who still cannot return to the level of normalcy that her life consisted of before being hit by a car? To put up these pedestrian stop signs while doing nothing to address the propensity for driver error implies that The University feels it was the student’s fault. It implies that the motorist was in the clear and that it was the student’s fault for not knowing how to cross a street.

Where is the line in the sand? If students cannot manage to cross a street in the eyes of the powers that be, how can we trust them with razors or any sharp object? Are we going to see pamphlets about shaving techniques next?

For a University that accepts adults, The University has regarded its student body as incompetent infants by installing pedestrian stop signs and distributing pamphlets with information on how to cross a street.

It simply baffles me to a point of becoming enraged that The University would rather spend money to print out idiotic handouts, buy pedestrian stop signs and pay someone to install aforementioned pedestrian stop signs than simply petitioning the town that it keeps afloat to install a vehicular stop sign on Mulberry Street.

Why not place a University officer on Mulberry to direct traffic during peak hours of student’s crossing Mulberry Street if a traffic light or stop sign is an impossibility?

I place my blame on the mishandling of this situation on the incompetency of those involved in decisions made, whether in the Student Formation and Campus Life department of The University or in the Student Government, which has clearly failed to address the real issues at hand, which is student safety crossing the street.

I am not being cynical, merely angered at the fact that this issue has eluded the people in charge of matters like this.

Contact the writer: matthew.defrenza@scranton.edu

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