Kohut Pooh-Pooh’s SHU’s Economic Bang For Bridgeport

Write-in candidate for mayor Jeff Kohut, a North End resident, challenges Sacred Heart University’s economic force in Bridgeport cited by school leadership.

So, it is interesting to see how seriously Sacred Heart University (SHU) is taking the mood of the Bridgeport public and their elected officials in regard to their neighborhood-destroying relationship with the city that they love to use to abuse, but whose name they take great pains to dissociate from their name and zip code.

SHU president Dr. John J. Petillo, having largely avoided any response to previous Bridgeport-neighborhood ire finally broke wind on the issue in his 10/25 President’s blog comments concerning the 10/24 meeting held by the City to address the North End SHU problem.

Petillo states that he is impressed with SHU challenging Bridgeport on its right and duty to enforce and strengthen its safety and quality of life laws (on the whole gamut of such laws/ordinances –zoning, parking, noise, fire code, et al.) with respect to efforts to rein in the SHU students that have destroyed the North End, and how he is impressed with their voter-registration efforts (603), per its implicit political leverage over the Bridgeport political system. He also throws out/throw up numbers asserting the economic/social benefits of SHU to Bridgeport also recycled by his Dean of Students Larry Wielk.

Petillo has thrown down the gauntlet to Bridgeporters; we must pick it up and smite him with it at the polls and in court.

Wielk’s commentary on OIB makes points on his boss’ blog points, in which Connecticut Conference of Municipalities cites SHU visitors as spending $101 million in Connecticut each year, with the implication that some large portion of that is spent in Bridgeport. Now we know that with basic tuition starting at $41,420, most of that is put directly into the university, whatever is spent in Bridgeport is spent on the neighborhood-wrecking rentals and dangerous drunken partying at issue. We know that SHU visitors aren’t renting Bridgeport hotel rooms or dining at Bridgeport restaurants. And the costs to Bridgeport families in neighborhood peace and safety exacted by the behavior of SHU students–with our most needy neighborhoods losing police coverage during critical weekend hours when most of our on-duty police are dispatched to the North End to police/babysit the disruptive partying of SHU students–would indeed indicate a much higher dollar-value cost, and extremely high cost in other non-measurables to Bridgeport families than any paltry amount that SHU’s presence might put into Bridgeport resident pockets or Bridgeport-based business coffers.

And of the 100,000 “volunteer” hours logged by SHU students in Bridgeport? We know that the vast majority of those hours were logged to complete course requirements. And the Seaside Park clean-up hours? What about the trashing that SHU students frequently give to Seaside Park–not to mention Veteran’s Memorial Park, adjacent to SHU.

As far as the 700 donated Thanksgiving turkeys go: I would bet that the recipients would be happy to trade them for a Thanksgiving weekend with the kind of heavy, 24-hour police patrols that they could have if the BPD OT budget weren’t being drained by the 9 months of North End weekend SHU party patrols that tie up BPD during violent crime prime time in the distressed neighborhoods of the city.

So really; Wielk’s narrative of the SHU Story can be viewed in the same context that we might view any other propaganda in regard to the enumeration of “benefits” to the host.

Just say shoo! to SHU on Election Day, November 5.



  1. Frank: Now I know that you read the Connecticut Post and this blog, so you should know that I have advocated for the gamut of solutions to this problem (and lately have proposed novel ideas) — but I will not reiterate them here. I will leave it your initiative and prodigious research skills to look back a bit on this blog and the Connecticut Post to satisfy your deep civic concern for the problems of the North End…

  2. Reply

    Jeff Kohut says:

    October 16, 2019 at 4:55 am

    It is interesting that there are local and state laws in all US states/counties/municipalities, covering all human-needs areas, regulating the creation and occupancy of planned communities/housing subdivisions/multi-family complexes that specify what the developers of such planned human habitat must have in place before occupancy is allowed (e.g., the number of parking spaces, square-footage per occupant, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, availability of utilities, heating and air conditioning, etc….). In this regard, wouldn’t it seem that learning “communities” (e.g., universities) that are actively working a plan to expand the student body of the community to include non-local students, would be legally required to first secure/create adequate living space/services — prior to accepting any number of “transplanted” students to their learning community campus and the larger, surrounding, “host” community(ies)?!

    Indeed; shouldn’t any plans for recruiting non-local students to a “learning community,” such as SHU, be shared for “input” (for state-required, local approval) with the larger community, in which the learning community is situated, as a matter of routine — given the need/prerogatives of the larger community to create/enable appropriate habitation regulations/restrictions that would be logically applicable to the “planned”/proposed population (student body) growth of the learning community?!

    Enabling legislation, per state statute (if it doesn’t already exist), for this type of requirement(s) for learning communities that recruit non-locally would seem to be overdue for Connecticut such that communities, such as Bridgeport, might be better able to defend themselves against parasitic damage inflicted upon them by avaricious, unscrupulous institutions such as SHU. If SHU were forced to share their plans and submit them for host-town approval prior to actual student recruitment, the SHU assault on Bridgeport neighborhoods and the Bridgeport budget could have been avoided.

    Truly, in light of the SHU-effect on Bridgeport, Connecticut should pass legislation that would be retroactively applicable, such that such institutions as SHU would have to reduce their student bodies to conform with to the ability and willingness of host communities to accommodate the residential needs/effects of the presence of the student body on the given community…

    Therein, some work for the up-coming GA session and the returning Bridgeport, GA delegation (in conjunction with the new, Bridgeport City Council)…


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