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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Columns

UH not defined by Third Ward surrounding


David Delgado/ The Daily Cougar
David Delgado/The Daily Cougar

A college’s location can bolster or hinder a university’s reputation, but in regards to UH, it shouldn’t. The University of Southern California, ranked No. 24 by U.S. News and World Report, isn’t located in the best area. Yet, year after year thousands of new students beg admissions officers in applications to accept them into the school. UH, recently ranked No. 15 in the 25 most underrated colleges by Business Insider, has the same issue lingering on the mind of many applying every semester: “Is it safe? Are the surrounding areas OK?”

The answers are complex and rest solely on an individual’s personal views on various areas in Houston as well as their experiences on campus. One thing is universal: UH’s campus should be something the University and students celebrate, not apologize for.

Being the fourth most populous city in the country, Houston is going to have what some would consider unsavory parts of town. But, there are plenty of areas in town that weren’t considered safe 20 years ago that are now regular hotbeds of new apartments, young people and the great diversity that makes Houston such a strong city. There isn’t one particular area in Houston that is immune to security and safety threats.

Every large university has crime. UH isn’t any different from any other college campus in regards to this, yet sometimes it’s portrayed as having a reputation for car break-ins and robberies. There are, of course, differences between all universities, but one can see that crime and personal safety is not an issue only on the minds of those on campus.

“It is not a college problem or a police problem. It is a societal problem that can only be properly addressed by the entire campus community,” according to the UH Police Department’s website.

Any time there are as many people in one place as there are on campus, there will be crime and safety issues.

The University could easily be located in a more desolate, remote area, but the location of UH is exactly where it should be. Community relations are a major part of the expansion and improvement projects going around on campus, and safety is definitely being taken into consideration.

UHPD’s website boasts that its mission is “to proactively build and strengthen community partnerships and reduce both the unsafe perceptions and the opportunity to commit crime on campus.”

UHPD offers tips on how to lower your chances of running into trouble on campus. New York University has a similar page, as does the University of California – Los Angeles, which is located in what many would immediately deem a safe neighborhood. This isn’t a unique problem related strictly to UH, though.

The reputation of a school’s location should not be defined by where the campusis. New construction that strives to implement less of a commuter feel should overcompensate for the reputation of the Third Ward and surrounding areas of the University. After all, according to the UH website, the campus is “smack in the midst of a bustling international city.”

UH’s location is perfect for students wanting the diverse atmosphere that the greater Houston area has to offer. Houston has long been a melting pot of cultures, and the evidence of this in Houston neighborhoods, the Third Ward in particular, is a vibrant example of the diversity Houstonians have come to love in our city.

Caroline Giese is a public relations senior and may be reached at [email protected]

 

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