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Week 2: Campus and City

September 29, 2011

Prompt: Do we, as a university and campus community, have an obligation(s) to the city of Cincinnati? If so, what is it? Why? If not, why not? Even if you are slightly ambivalent about your stance, please choose a side to defend rather than remaining neutral.

Psychologically, it doesn’t feel like we have an obligation. To borrow Palen’s terminology, I view the campus block as our “defended neighborhood”: It feels safe (it’s carpeted with emergency phones), it’s the area where students wander around freely and where most events take place, and there’s not much incentive to go beyond that area except when you need to. The city is our “community of limited liability,” where we go to meet needs that aren’t filled on campus. Try getting a haircut around here, for example. It isn’t an emotional connection, but it’s an important part of our lives, since our campus isn’t totally self-contained. Since we have some connections to the rest of the community, we have the same obligation to the city that any resident of Cincinnati has. I’m not sure how to describe this obligation, though. A city is a very big place and it’s hard to define a common interest for the community besides “keep it a nice place to live.” In short, we don’t feel obliged to the city,  but I think we should be.

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