QUI BONO? Having fewer poor students at the University of Arkansas can change Fayetteville forever, and not for the better | Street Jazz

QUI BONO? Having fewer poor students at the University of Arkansas can change Fayetteville forever, and not for the better


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For the past few weeks I have been considering the news that fewer poor students are attending the University of Arkansas, and reading about the trend on a national scale which favors wealthy students over those from more modest backgrounds. You know . . . poor students.

Below I have included links to two articles on the subject. Today I’d like to write about the changes we are already seeing in the New York City of the Ozarks.

Those who already own homes, or are financially comfortable may be unaware of what it is like for those students and members of the working class to find affordable rental properties in Fayetteville. Yet all around us, older homes and apartment buildings are being torn down to make way for “student housing” - which often translates to expensive pads with all sorts of amenities such as fitness centers,

Hell, one apartment complex not so long ago offered “study areas” - you know study areas - they used to be kitchen tables and couches.

One complex offers spiral stairs. Well, here’s my credit card, dude!

Spiral stairs. The bile rises even as I type the words.

Putting aside such vital necessities as built-in shelving, fitness centers, study areas and spiral stairs, we are still faced with the concept of fewer folks of modest means going to school in our city, to say nothing of what it does to our nation as a whole.

Fayetteville hardly benefits from having fewer students of modest means living amongst us.

Well, okay, developers do, but what is good for developers is often not so good for a city. It’s a hard lesson too many communities learn way too late, if at all.

We are a city which claims to love diversity, but if things don’t change, it will be higher-end diversity. We already have a problem with members of the working class (the detestable term “work force” shall never cross my lips) who work in Fayetteville having to find rental accommodations in surrounding cities, as rental prices go up.

We are already becoming a city in which the words “Entertainment District - meaning Dickson Street - are uttered with a straight face.

And if wealthy students pretty much only come into contact with members of their same financial class, well, how will they ever understand the lives of others less fortunate than themselves?

As a community, Fayetteville needs to embrace diversity in all its forms, and that also means economic diversity. The UA and Fayetteville’s developers are doing this community no service by catering to those who can afford “luxury” apartments with spiral staircases.

For additional reading on the subject:

En-suite education: the unstoppable rise of luxury student housing

The UK’s student boom has seen a spate of new, expensive, high-spec studio flats for them to live in, even as local residents are desperate for affordable accommodation. From Coventry to Cambridge, are universities starting to resemble property developers – and does this help or hurt our cities?


Public Higher Ed Skews Wealthy


We ignore this at our moral peril.


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There is nothing so powerful as truth - and often nothing as strange. - Daniel Webster



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