The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
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Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

St. Joe’s neglects off-campus community


Hurricane Ida caused historic levels of flooding and storm damage in Manayunk on Wednesday, Sept. 1. St. Joe’s was aware that a significant portion of students live in Manayunk. Despite this, there was no university-wide acknowledgment of their situation, and that of other students whose family homes were impacted by the flooding.

All students were expected to attend class on Wednesday, despite many roads being closed. With the university advising faculty to refrain from holding classes over Zoom, there was no way for off-campus students and faculty who were affected by the storm to attend their classes on ground.

When the university was questioned about what students and faculty should do if they were unable to attend or hold classes, they delivered underwhelming responses. St. Joe’s advised their students to contact their professors, and for faculty to contact their department chairs in order to assess how to proceed with the day. The university did not offer an acknowledgement, or statement of support for those who were affected by the floods.

Student anger and disappointment expressed towards the university was not aimed at the university’s decision to continue with classes last Wednesday; rather it was due to the lack of empathy shown to those affected by this historic disaster. Instead of demonstrating concern for the well-being and safety of students and their families impacted by the flooding, the university failed to acknowledge them. The safety of all students should be at the forefront of St. Joe’s concerns; all students, not just residential students. Perhaps a short email acknowledging the impact of the flooding and the destruction of homes and apartments, as well as the emotional impact on students, would have been greatly appreciated by the students and families who were impacted by the floods.

The damage that the storm caused was serious and, in some cases, life-threatening, with at least 43 people killed by the storm at the time of print. Students who commute to campus were left with no choice but to miss class and hope that their professors would not penalize them for it.

While we are aware of the fact that a majority of students and faculty were not seriously impacted by the storm, there were many who were. The university should not pick and choose who to care about and when to care about them. St. Joe’s encourages “caring for the whole person” and being “with and for others.” The university prides itself on these principles, yet when students are faced with a dangerous situation, these ideals are not put into action. The lack of care and disregard towards community members affected by the storm was appalling and the university must do more to show their commitment to their values and the safety of their students.

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