Since the beginning weeks of their academic semester, both the University of Dayton administration and student body have been under pressure to change the racial culture that currently exists on campus. After myriad student newspaper articles and student-organized rallies, several students approached the administration demanding to be recognized as a struggling minority group.
Carrie Malarkey, a sophomore finance major from Hinsdale, Illinois, expressed her concerns to Flyer News during a sit-in at St. Mary's Hall.
"We're trying to express to Housing and Residence Life that we aren't as well off as they think we are," she said. "I personally can only purchase two chai lattes from The Blend every morning-and I have an 8 a.m. I can't make it all the way to Fitz Hall by then. There are dozens of others like me just struggling to get by each day."
This past Monday, the university released an announcement from the dean of students' office: "Fellow Flyers, the word 'ghetto' has been tied to our community for longer than any one of us has been settled on this campus. After several attempts to terminate its utterance, we have recognized our errors and wish to go above and beyond in recognizing your fundamental right to freedom of speech. Effective immediately, the official name for our collective neighborhoods is 'The Ghetto.' With this official name change, we will be speaking not only to our history but to the city of Dayton's history. You'll be seeing many corresponding changes to our campus layout in the coming weeks. It's a great day to be a Flyer!"
The upcoming changes mentioned in the statement have since been added to the online version of the campus master plan. Changes will include the removal of all heating and air conditioning units from university houses, insertion of bedbugs into all university provided beds, mass excavation of previously filled pot holes on Kiefaber and Lowes Streets and replacement of all meal plans with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program). In addition, Facilities Management will cease the weekend removal of student trash from campus properties and salting pathways in the winter. Career Services, a widely used campus resource that helps hundreds of students mold career paths and find jobs every year, will also be disbanded.
University of Dayton President Daniel Curran addressed media outlets the following day regarding the announcement.
"Why did we ever fight this?" Curran said while sipping on a pina colada, reclining in a beach chair with both feet submerged in a baby pool full of sauvignon blanc set up in the middle of the Science Center lobby under an inflated palm tree. "We've heard the opinions of the masses and can't help but wonder why we didn't do this sooner. We're going to do everything we can to make our neighborhoods reflective of the proud, Dayton ghetto that exists today."
When asked about the city of Dayton's recent successes in small business growth and downtown residence refurbishment, Curran kept his comments short. "It won't last," he said. "Did the manufacturing business last here? No. Neither will whatever projects are currently underway."
I.M. Lyon, chair of the office of student admissions, expressed encouragement to students who have not implemented the word "ghetto" into their vernacular.
"Say it freely!" Lyon said, "It's encouraged, and we hope you don't think twice about it. You know how when you call your best friend a whore and it's OK to do that, but you wouldn't do that in front of your parents? We're allowing you to call your friend a wh-e in front of your parents now. Except your friend is the university, and the whore is 'The Ghetto.' It may seem weird at first, but, seriously, our lawyers said it's totally cool."