For the past few weeks, the opinion section has been brimming with columns regarding the many problems around campus: Chartwells' blatant abuse of its monopoly, student's inclination to leave campus as soon as possible and, apparently most pressing, the parking problem and its only solution, a parking garage. Although columnists have voiced their enlightened solutions with such complex and profound statements as “get rid of Chartwells” and “use the tuition increase for a parking garage,” it isn't always as simple as that.
Being the concerned student that I am, I feel it is my duty to contribute to the University community by voicing some of my own solutions to these trying problems.
In regard to Chartwells' high prices and purely-for-profit operating hours, I don't think there is really a problem at all. America is the great country it is today because of greedy, heartless and monopolistic companies like Chartwells. Would we have the dependable and virus-free PCs we have today without Microsoft's monopoly? Just as we gag at the very thought of switching to Macintosh, we should resist the ideas of competition and fairness. The best thing to do in our situation is to continue to sit back and take the beating. It's not like we can really do anything about it.
Now, the reason that students are fleeing campus after class is fairly obvious to me. In the last week alone there were three separate arrests for possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia here on campus. If students are too afraid to do drugs on campus for fear of imprisonment, of course they're going to leave. The University should designate special areas for students to do their drugs, preferably near fast food and shiny objects.
The same problem is seen in the residence halls. Students are hesitant to live on campus because of the frequent arrests. The Residence Halls Association should designate separate pot-smoking floors so the smell of marijuana doesn't upset non-smoking residents. It is simply outrageous that the University allows the police to harass students who are going about their everyday drug business, like last week when a visitor was urinating in a UH parking lot. Are potheads not allowed to urinate in parking lots anymore? It's a sad world we live in.
Then there is the most important issue — parking. As a commuter school, you would think that the University would see parking as a higher priority. Many students feel that a parking garage would alleviate the problem, but I don't feel that is going far enough. Is valet asking too much? Or how about a limousine service that picks up students at their homes? Of course, considering cost effectiveness, several students may have to share a limousine.
But how will we pay for these services, you may ask. Not to worry, the tuition was raised this year, which should cover it all, and then some. While the economy is slumping and public schools grapple with the extraordinary budget deficit, it is obvious the raise in tuition was implemented for the sole purpose of providing ample student parking.
As a columnist, I feel that I have all of the answers, and am baffled as to why these simple solutions have not already been carried out. I also have some great ideas about buying land in the Third Ward around UH, removing the residents and building several Starbucks, but I'll save that for another time.
Castle, a freshman communication major, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.