Trouble in Paradise: What St. Cloud can do to improve on-campus housing

in Editorial/Opinion by

I’m not really one for “rant pieces”. The long, not entirely sensible, Facebook-esque pieces that don’t contribute to the public discussion, but seem to exist only for the narrow echo chamber do not count as journalism in my book. That being said, I would like to point out two large problems I see around campus. 

The first is the absolutely disgusting housing for students living off campus. I have toured several Universities in three different states and in each of them, the few blocks surrounding campus were the safest and most beautiful parts of the city. This is not the case in St. Cloud. The various state of disrepair, chipping paint, and poor lighting scream apathy.  

Obviously, students and renters could do more to pick up places around their homes. Structural problems, bad paint, and other things of that nature are the fault of the landlords. The permissiveness in allowing this overall wretched system to continue is the fault of the city for either failing to enforce zoning codes or failing to have sufficient zoning codes at all. This should be rectified to make the atmosphere feel safer and friendlier.  

Secondly, the parking options around SCSU are poor at best. Students get put on waitlists, are ticketed even when they have purchased parking passes, and there isn’t nearly enough room. This is either willful neglect or sheer incompetence.  

The parking ticket fees, cost of parking permits, and half-hour parking charges are not just. They are yet another way to nickel-and-dime the students at SCSU. I am not advocating these should be free, but the costs should be more manageable. Students are a key part of the idea of the university, not simply a profit center for when the State Legislature decides to cut funding to the MNSCU system. 

If the City of St. Cloud and the University can tackle these problems, life would be much easier on the students. The feeling around campus would be lighter, rather than dragged down in the disgusting surroundings. Fixing the many problems surrounding campus parking would not make students choose between paying for a ticket or their next meal. This is supposed to be a place of learning and growth, not apathy and disrespect.