UCCS and students must watch their reputation

Sept. 29, 2014

Scribe Staff
[email protected]

There are three kinds of neighbors in this world: those we become friends with and say hello to every day, those who we ignore completely and pretend don’t live there and those that we hate with a passion and glare at every time we go out to the mailbox at the same time.

What kind of neighbors does UCCS want to be?

We’ve been in the news recently, and not for the reasons we want or should be.

A KOAA report from Sept. 19 looked into the issues that have been facing The Lodges, an off-campus housing complex off Nevada Avenue.

KOAA reporter Matt Prichard explained that Colorado Springs police responded 30 times to The Lodges in the last month, with grievances ranging from noise complaints to sexual assault. Prichard explained that the situation is “wild enough that even college students are asking for a change.”

Additionally, Prichard received feedback from UCCS (although he did not specify who), and his source explained that UCCS is “aware of it, problem is this is the risk you run when you live off-campus.”

The relationship between a university and its city is mutual, not a one-way street. We can’t have it both ways. We cannot utilize community resources, take over the areas around campus and then we mess up say it’s not our fault.

Students have to take accountability for their actions. You’re adults, you’re in the real world and as a student you represent yourself and the university. As we continue to grow, we cannot have the wrath of the Colorado Springs community holding us back.

The KOAA report also quoted UCCS freshman Jacob Zeiters. “With everything new, there’s always going to be some new standards and things change a little bit, so I’m assuming that things are going to get better, it’ll take time.”

Time is something we do not have. The university is growing and changing regardless of any plans or items we think we can cover. The reputation of a person, group or university is not built in a day. It is a continuous process that we have to constantly tend to.

Bill Vogrin’s column in The Gazette that came out on Sept. 19 as well highlighted the age-old issue for residents around UCCS: illegal parking. He talked to a couple who have been frustrated by the issue: Dick and Sandra Matthews. Three tickets issued were in direct response to calls from them.

“Despite emails from UCCS, construction of a 230-space lot and the issuance of warnings, students continue to ignore signs that declare a portion of the street near the Matthewses off-limits to weekday parking except by residents displaying a permit,” Vogrin’s column explained.

Vogrin interviewed a couple of students parking illegally. “So I asked the drivers, both UCCS seniors, if they knew they were parking in a permit-only spot. They did. And they didn’t care.”

Vogrin talked to Tanisha Smith: “I pay enough to go to school already. I can’t afford a parking permit.”

Vogrin also highlighted Sam Patterson, who explained that she didn’t buy a permit because she only has classes two days a week.

We get it. Parking is expensive. Ridiculously expensive. If this is the main issue our neighbors have with UCCS, why are we not addressing it? Why is it not a policy change? Why are students not acknowledging the problem that they are creating and asking for change?

Vogrin called UCCS spokesman Tom Hutton to find out more.

“The parking restrictions in the neighborhood are the result of actions by the city of Colorado Springs in coordination with property owners in the area,” Hutton said. “Primary enforcement of parking ordinances is done by the Colorado Springs Police Department.” UCCS, and its students, cannot pass the buck. The community is not there to fi x the problems we create.

“Maybe CSPD can peel off a few meter readers from downtown (the ones I try to dodge each day) and send them to Regent Circle to teach a few students a lesson in civics, economics and the cost of living!” Vogrin concluded.

Like Vogrin’s tone, almost all the comments below his column on gazette. com were negative toward students, with words such as “disrespect” and “sense of entitlement” used.

What kind of neighbors do we want to be?