Alumnus argues ‘student privilege,’ not ‘white privilege’ at UD

Jim Wahl – Alumnus, Class of 1969

Under the Flyer News head­line “Writer examines white privilege from own perspective,” the author provides a long dis­sertation on how difficult it can be for a minority student at UD, including the follow­ing observations/comments:

“The minority person is not respected and treated with un­derstanding for who they are as being a distinct individual from a unique background. This ap­plies not just for people of dif­ferent skin colors but to peo­ple of all kinds of differences. Better understanding of others situations applies to the use of the word “ghetto” to describe our student neighborhood.”

It appears that the concept of “white privilege” is the latest in the “divide us” strategy of the left. Perhaps the next move will be for “reparations,” and other actions, intended to level the play­ing field for those who are victims of the white culture they live in.

I would like to suggest, per­haps, a different perspective. The headline should read instead: “Student privilege at UD.” Since I live about a half mile from campus, I am out and about, walking and running through the neighborhood on a daily ba­sis, and sometimes on campus in various buildings for events. I would suggest that the “privi­lege” at UD extends to virtually all students, who are essential­ly attending the college-equiv­alent of a five star resort.

When eating on campus, I have observed that the food in the cafeteria surpasses many fine Dayton restaurants. There are multiple, delicious looking entrees at virtually all hours. When attending UD in the ’60s, on the other hand, the food was so terrible that residents would have to go next door for the 10- cent McDonald’s to have a full day’s meal. You got your serving, and that was it. Sunday breakfast consisted of one serving of eggs, bacon, pancakes and such that could feed about 25 students in the dorm of 500 residents, and when it was gone, we would come back later in the morning for the next serving. But there would not be another serving.

Second semester, we did get unlimited milk, but the standard fare remained “mystery meat”: meat loaf, chopped steak, Salis­bury steak, hamburger steak, ham loaf. I see lots of students run­ning around the neighborhood these days, likely trying to burn calories from all the delights and avoid the obesity epidemic?

And regarding student hous­ing in “The Ghetto.” It really was a ghetto in the 1960s, and burning couches in the street was a good way to get replace­ment furniture the next year, as by the spring, most of the seating devices were worn out and bug-infested. Today, how­ever, the following is how stu­dents are living in “The Ghetto.”

2015: The new house on Stonemill…five housemates, five bedrooms, three full bathrooms and energy efficient dishwasher, washer and dryer. The house is blue on the outside, and “green” on the inside with airtight win­dows, an efficient HVAC sys­tem that will warm the cockles of your nostalgic heart, not to mention new carpeting and new, not moth-eaten furniture.

All of the off-campus housing is surrounded by student-owned cars. Few had the privilege of individual transportation way back when. The real privilege was being admitted and attend­ing a fine university that we all came to love, despite the lack of amenities or privileges that no one expected. We did not ob­sess with the food, housing and transportation deprivations, but were happy to hitch-hike, not fly, to watch the Flyers playing Mich­igan, Kentucky and UCLA with Lew Alcindor, and the great suc­cess of the football team, thump­ing the likes of Cincinnati, Mi­ami, Louisville, OU and Toledo.

At 212 Rubicon St.: There were seven housemates in three bed­rooms, no AC, no washer or dry­er or dish washer, so dishes were always dirty. The next year, we solved the dirty dish problem by assigning one of each utensil to each housemate, one frying pan and one sauce pan for cooking.

Now, some might observe, “Well, you get what you pay for, and at $35,000 a year, all students should expect, and be entitled to, living at a five star resort level at UD.” I would be willing to guess that UD has a large bureaucra­cy in the student aid office ar­ranging grants and scholarships for most attendees, particularly those who are “disadvantaged.”

So whatever the color—white, black or brown—I would sug­gest that someone needs to expand the privilege investi­gation. The current student body should appreciate all of their “privilege” and enjoy the opportunity of being at UD.

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