By Duke Staff
UPDATE 2:49 10/23/15
President Dougherty emailed a letter of apology to Student Government Association President John Foster Friday morning. In the letter, Dougherty apologizes to those who were offended, but also defends his position, saying:
“….I made the point that life off campus allows for greater access to alcohol, sometimes in violation of state law. It also allows for sexual behaviors that we cannot accept on the campus of a Catholic university.”
The full text of the letter can be found here: President Dougherty’s Letter
ORIGINAL ARTICLE BEGINS HERE:
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “libertine” means “a person … who leads an immoral life and is mainly interested in sexual pleasure.”
It is an ugly, unflattering word to use to describe someone. And yet it is exactly the word Duquesne University President Charles Dougherty used to describe non-resident Duquesne students during his Town Hall address to faculty Tuesday afternoon.
“We know why they move off-campus,” Dougherty said, referring to juniors and seniors who decide not to stay in dorms. “They flaunt [sic] the state liquor laws and they live a libertine lifestyle that is not allowed on campus.
“We are aware of the mardis gras that goes on [off-campus] every weekend.”
Dougherty made these comments as part of his address to campus faculty about the university’s financial situation. According to Dougherty and Vice President for Management and Business David Beaupre, there are 304 empty beds in campus dorms this semester. This means that only 92 percent of campus beds are occupied, compared to 98 percent in the spring.
As Dougherty pointed out, when juniors and seniors move off-campus, the university loses room and board money. As more and more juniors and seniors move to neighborhoods such as the South Side, the Hill District and Oakland, university officials are trying to determine why.
More than half of The Duke’s staff lives off-campus. Perhaps we can provide some insight into why students move away; other than flaunting liquor laws and leading libertine lives, of course.
The primary reason to move off campus is price. Price, price, price. Room and board rates start at $5,000 and can reach $7,000. This means students are spending at least $1,250 each month, which is roughly double what a student renting a house on the South Side spends on rent, utilities and groceries.
On top of that, Duquesne only offers one apartment-style dorm: Brottier Hall. Although there are 304 empty beds on campus this year, Brottier is completely full. Students want kitchens, areas to entertain guests, and some freedom to decorate, rearrange and furnish — and they can get that off-campus.
The staff of The Duke are not libertines, along with the many students who choose to live off campus — and we have the work ethic and GPAs to prove it. Saying that students only move off-campus to drink and party is offensive and inaccurate. That might be the motivation for some students, but certainly not all. In addition, students who wish to live “mardis gras” lives do so regardless of the locale. A five-second perusal of the Duquesne Police’s weekly crime log shows that students regularly drink, party and abuse drugs on campus. The Duke staff would like to encourage the university’s administration to dig a little deeper if they really want to determine the reasons upperclassmen are abandoning campus.