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.