Our neighbors, a.k.a the UMNHOA, are hardheaded. And hot-headed. And, frankly, out of control. It seems that these people have grown desensitized to yelling and shouting and arguing in circles.
And we’re at the core of all this because UM has a critical need for housing.
The recent decision to move forth with Phase I of the 1992 plan for University Village was one made out of necessity. But the neighbors refuse to listen.
Sure they can voice their concerns. It’s their neighborhood too.
But the fact remains is that many students are registered voters of the City of Coral Gables. We’re residents too. Our vote counts. We work here. We live here.
We help to elect city officials. We contribute to the community.
They think we are all “hooligans” that “urinate from roofs”. They yell these things all the time at University Village community relations meetings. They blame UM students for random disturbances and minor crimes.
But the neighbors have never stopped to consider the fact that maybe local Gables and South Miami youth are responsible for these issues. It seems more likely that local elementary, middle, and high school kids are doing these types of things. On campus, local youth are always trespassing and causing havoc. Ask Public Safety.
Sadly, the neighbors are not aware of the fact that the majority of the students within this campus that totally de-evaluate their misconceptions. Many of us are very successful. Some are nationally recognized. What about the academic and athletic dedication of our athletes? What about the service projects of the fraternities, sororities, student organizations and clubs? Our debate teams and mock trial teams win awards all of the time.
The neighbors ignore these successes.
The reality is that our involved student body continually stimulates changes within the University and local community. We are not criminals.
But who can blame the neighbors for thinking as they do? Their heads must be filled with stereotypical images from Hollywood of what the typical college student is: Animal House, Road Trip, American Pie. Poor neighbors, Hollywood has brainwashed them.
Meanwhile, most of us sit around and wait for all of these things in the movies to happen to us, but they never do.
Still, it seems that any other type of discrimination would be unacceptable under any other circumstances. Therefore, their unfounded statements can’t be excused.
But the neighbors are smarter than that. They back up their generalized discriminatory remarks with facts, primarily from articles printed in this very publication.
The problem is that they take the articles out of context and mold the facts to their liking. Then they present the misinterpreted information at city meetings. They print it in their local Homeowner’s Association newsletter to distribute to surrounding neighborhoods.
They talk about us behind our backs.
Even better, the neighbors continually criticize UM for not being open to new options, but refuse to listen to the point of view of the University and compromise for a comparable middle-ground.
What hypocrites.
Even better, the proposed Village would only heighten safety and improve the condition of the current area, making it more aesthetically pleasing and useful.
In the end, UM has done everything in its power to be a good, considerate neighbor and has been received with nothing but criticism, stereotypes, and barefaced discrimination. Simple human decency should take precedence over even the most serious of concerns.
Maybe the neighbors should move to a less classy neighborhood.

March 7, 2003


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.