Student implores president to address issues

Published: April 7, 2016

Commentary by

I was disheartened to find in a recent Aquinas article, that the voices of the students were being downplayed by our Student Government administration.

Three weeks ago, Mathew DeFrenza revived the conversation about student safety when crossing Mulberry Street.

As a resident of Montrone, and a firsthand witness to a student being hit, this is a common concern of mine and many others.

I write this piece to contradict the opinion of the student body president and vice-president, and using their words, to say DeFrenza is “not alone in these sentiments.”

It was mildly humorous when my first few weeks of living in Montrone were spent practicing “Frogger” to get to class.

I also grinned when I was handed a paper on how to cross the street, similar to the colorful papers I received in kindergarten.

Thankfully, someone with a voice recalled the true danger of Mulberry Street, an issue that is being glossed over and belittled by the Student Government. Our elected officials, who collect monetary compensation, favored a rhetorical attack on DeFrenza over a meaningful response.

Their reply to DeFrenza lacked substance and simply relied on questioning his competency as a writer. A well-written deflection would have only contained their small portion of factual evidence, which explained the difficulties of reworking the Mulberry roadway.

This alone would have served as a great response to DeFrenza’s article, as it would have explained the lack of action behind the ongoing hazard. Unfortunately, their response resulted in personal jabs at DeFrenza and his past articles. By pretentiously devaluing DeFrenza’s “schoolyard chicanery masquerading as a sophisticated, sardonic opinion,” I now question the officers’ ability to lead as equals.

You have tried to silence a voice of a student you claim to represent, an action that is never appropriate or called for.
This low road approach by the officers has only weakened their claim, and thus placed them on defense.

Comically, their attempted portrayal of DeFrenza as being uncreditable has effectively discredited their own administration.
During their campaign, they called themselves the “voices of the students,” yet they cannot be named in The Aquinas without a formal approval.

How can you believe you represent us on an equal level if your name is too mighty to be questioned in the school paper?

It seems as if they are cautiously looking over their shoulder, paranoid of their accomplishments being questioned.

Frankly, I would be looking over my shoulder too if I wasn’t being accountable for student safety, but I am far too busy looking left and right trying to cross Mulberry Street.

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2 Responses to Student implores president to address issues

  1. Justin Goreschak Reply

    April 8, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Hey there Aquinas,

    It’s been nearly a year since my graduation from The University of Scranton, and while I am very proud of the school paper for taking a stance, there are two issues here. The first, which I very much agree with, is the creative and critical freedom that the school systematically crushes. It’s easy to point blame on a number of people in power at the school, but I have yet to find the root cause. Honestly, it seems like every level of the school administration is trying to quiet every level below them. I admire the paper to stand up for their freedom of speech and desire to make my alma mater even better.

    I would like to address the Mulberry issue here, too, however. The school is above all else interested in avoiding controversy and criticism (see my first paragraph). I implore the paper to take a deeper look into the history of such projects before criticizing action taken, or the lack of it. Many streets are not under city control and PennDOT is not quick to move. Furthermore, the city did not want the University to cross Mulberry Street and build these buildings (that controversy is another matter that involves many people’s misguided distaste for the school). One such reason, however, even if not the primary reason, was increased pedestrian traffic across one of the city’s busier roads. The system put in place is one of less than ten, I believe, such systems in the state. This was the compromise. I am torn between between heartbreak by students struck by vehicles and displeasure in the fact that University students are a growing traffic issue in the city. As a former commuter, I would like to see more compliance from students, especially crossing Jefferson at Linden, but also I hope that students are able to cross safely.

    I agree something must be done, I do, ESPECIALLY in regard to freedom of speech at the University and transparency from the administration. However, I believe that more consideration into the city and the school’s position might be more beneficial to correcting the pedestrian crossing at Mulberry.

    Best of luck,

    PS. Is it time to break the Aquinas away from University control or start a separate paper? Maybe you can get Marywood students involved for additional support – they have more English/Lit students.

  2. Martin Reply

    April 8, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Getting traffic lights or even stop signs would probably get rid of this issue entirely. The yellow blinking lights don’t work. They’re not even visible in daylight.

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