WHAT HAPPENS TO A DREAM DEFERRED?
Student slum housing everywhere. Morgantown and student slum housing are more or less synonymous. As radio host Hoppy Kercheval reminds us: “Morganhole”. Want to get rid of the fires? Get rid of the mountains of fuel. Kercheval has nothing to say about that.
Slum housing. Crowded classrooms.
Tuition increases above inflation more-or-less constantly.
Pugnacious-making alcohol legal and omnipresent. Mellowing marijuana criminalized, forced underground, and hypocritically and fraudulently demonized.
WVU President Clements has been correctly criticized for being far too much of a cheerleader and far too little of a badly needed leader.
Clements never misses a chance to raise his helium-filled pom-poms for WVU accomplishments and WVU stars but is utterly silent and missing in action in addressing some of the main difficult situations facing students everyday: slum housing, packed housing, expensive housing, crowded classrooms, sky-rocketed tuition.
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
That’s Langston Hughes. That’s what he wrote. What does the WVU President say? WVU President Clements is seen everywhere with the football and basketball star teams and he’s so happy! having the time of his life! and he talks about it all the time! and he makes $775,000 per year! and everyone knows! and the students are sitting in their crappy slum housing and rundown fraternity houses and cram-packed dorms and cheap but expensive compartment buildings, and damn it, they want to have a super exciting slamming time too, just like the ball stars and the super rich President Clements! Fire up the couches! Let it explode!
And WVU has a highly paid Athletic Director Oliver Luck and extremely highly paid ball coaches who have been essentially no help in any of this. (Luck is paid $550,000-700,00 per year, Football Coach Holgorsen is paid over $2.3 million per year, Basketball Coach Huggins will be paid $3 million this year.) The athletic events catalyze the fires and rioting. Fires were set when Osama bin Laden was killed but this seems an outgrowth of behavior cultured by ball game fire burning.
In response to the outburst of burning, and bottle, rock, and brick throwing at first responders, who used tear gas and pepper spray after the UT/WVU football game, the WVU administration had essentially nothing new to say. And they have sounded impressively stupid in saying it. The WVU administration has come out with no plans to effectively address the problems. Not the surface problems, and not the underlying problems, many of which go entirely ignored.
The most sensible public comment and suggestion for immediate action came from Associate Professor in the School of Medicine Joe Prudhomme who suggested, as reported by the Dominion Post, “opening up the stadium and having the game shown on the large screen and then having a concert afterward for the students.” Prudhomme noted the painfully obvious: “There has to be a fun alternative.”
There has to be a fun alternative for all the reasons detailed above. Or it will continue to explode.
And the underlying problems need to be acknowledged, studied, and acted upon as well. Or it will continue to explode.
The WVU administration needs to wake up. And get moving.
The WVU ball coaches should lend themselves to the efforts as well.
On a related matter, WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck should seriously reconsider his ill-thought and callous comments published in the Dominion Post 2 days ago, though stated in January 2011. The Dominion Post reports accurately that “Morgantown and WVU are sitting on a timebomb, according to those who have spoken out about motorists parking on the shoulder of Monongahela Boulevard” near the WVU coliseum. In 2011, Director Luck acknowledged that “there is some potential for an accident” but he foolishly and callously added, “that’s been the case since I was an undergraduate in the late ’70s and early ’80s.” The traffic has vastly increased since then and he knows it. And people have repeatedly complained of fearing for their lives in trying to park and walk along that road to get to the coliseum for a ball game. Now parking there occurs on non-game days. WVU is spending tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of dollars to build nearby on the Evansdale campus currently. The university has a duty to take some of those tens of millions of dollars and build safe parking facilities and safe pedestrian crossings there by the coliseum.
To do all this that should have been done years ago, WVU administration needs to seriously step up its game.