Alumnus: It isn’t just a ghetto, it’s our ‘Ghetto’

By: Joe Haglage – Alumnus, Class of 2012

The University of Dayton “Ghetto“ is filled with residents in the same age range with little or no income living largely on government or private loans or the wages of others such as their parents. Make no mistake: “The Ghetto” is a ghetto.

But that isn’t the reason I will always call it “The Ghetto.” In the same way that our names play a part in defining who we are and why I wouldn’t feel comfortable with someone changing mine to something they thought suited me better, we have no right to change the name of something so integral to UD’s history.

When the neighborhood was built in the late-1800s to house NCR factory employees, houses were spaced only a few feet apart, cramming as many workers as possible onto a small plot of land. When students started moving in during the mid-1900s, I imagine the neighborhood looked very much like a ghetto. Apparently the name stuck.

Of course, many of the houses are indeed much nicer now because our “Ghetto” has the benefit of a very wealthy landlord, thanks in large part to the very alumni who once played their part in forging our “Ghetto’s” history. Our “Ghetto” isn’t defined by dilapidated housing or violent crime. It’s defined by the community that makes it. The community of which we are all a part.

I graduated from UD in 2012, and a mere mention of “The Ghetto” still brings a smile to my face. When I run across current students and ask if they live in “The Ghetto,” it always brings one to theirs too. Our “Ghetto” still has the power to connect us, even years and miles away from where it sits. “The Ghetto” isn’t a tradition; it’s a history. It’s our history.

The university can try to rename it the “South Student Neighborhood” or the “Village,” but, to me, our Ghetto only has one history and one name.

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