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Robert Caret, President of Towson University, is on a mission to dramatically increase enrollment, with seemingly no regard for the concerns of area residents
-1974 13,400 students
-2007 19,758 students
-2012 25,000 students

 

First, while Caret did pitch Towson as a site for the USM’s impending growth back when he was provost, ultimately it comes down to the state, and nation as a whole, having more students heading to college than ever before. Somebody needs to take them. Second, the “no regard” is incorrect. It’s broad, sweeping statements like these that lead to tension and more problems instead of any progress. The University has attended community meetings, hosted monthly subcommittee meetings, hosted regular open forums, and in comparison to most schools Towson’s size, the student affairs division does far more about students living off campus than others. Caret took the community’s concern about the Towson Center and completely changed plans. This is evidence of cooperation.

 

In a single year over 2,100 new condominiums and apartments have been approved or proposed for approval within Towson’s 14 square miles, increasing our 21,578 households by 10%.  Current economic conditions may very well leave these units vacant, unbuilt, or filled with more college students, despite the initial claims by developers and County officials that these would be ‘upscale’ units.

 

This is the University’s fault, how?

 

Towson area elementary schools are overcrowded with 451 more students than their rated capacity

 

See above. Also, where are these 451 additional students going to go to college some day? I guess out of state where it is more expensive and those students, just as the ones that go to Towson, won’t want to live in on-campus housing for four years.

 

Our streets are overburdened too – there is a “Walkable Towson” plan, but you can barely drive on York Road.

 

Do a little research. Go to a few meetings. The idea is to make York Road impossible to drive so that it becomes “Walkable.” Whether you agree with this or not is something that should be taken up with County planners. It’s not the University’s fault. I’ve spoken with the planners. I’ve seen the maps. Walkable Towson is meant to push drivers away from York Road so that it can be a pedestrian friendly center for commerce, not a throughway to 695.

 

Towson University has failed to respond to residents’ repeated concerns about their unstudied enrollment growth, noise, the lack of on-campus parking and dorms, and has now failed to request input regarding their new arena ‘addition.’  Will it go the same way as the other issues


I don’t know what “unstudied enrollment growth” means. Is it in reference to its effect on the community? Local commerce? Academics for Maryland? Workforce needs for the region? What exactly are you asking to be studied? Let’s be specific.

A lack of on-campus parking? Again, let’s try a little research. It has been repeatedly reported that Towson has an excess of 450 parking spaces on campus every day. Students choose not to park there. The lack of dorms is a fact. There needs to be more; can’t argue that one.

In regard to the new arena, I don’t know why addition was in quotes. It’s an addition. Not a supposed addition. And did Towson include the community in discussions? Yes. Did they make mistakes? Yes. Did the community most closely impacted by the construction sit at a table, discuss concerns and work out a plan that satisfies both parties? Yes.

 

Towson Police have stated they are stretched to their limits…are the hospitals next?

 

What? This should be used in rhetoric textbooks as a red herring fallacy in argumentation.

 

Towson University students now make up large portions of neighborhoods; homeowners are forced to fight the battle against noise, trash, parking and unbelievable behavior daily, but the County Office of Code Enforcement and the Judicial system don’t seem to
be effective.

 

Both of these institutions are reactive in nature. Code Enforcement can’t sit down with every potential renter to make sure they are aware of laws. The Judicial system should be confronted by local politicians.

 

Downtown businesses are vacant – but do Towson’s families really want another hookah bar?

 

No, they probably don’t, but I don’t think TU students are going to be shopping at Pottery Barn or dining often at the Cheesecake Factory. There are new additions to the Chamber of Commerce each year that are meant to benefit both groups of consumers.

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One Comment

  1. Very informative post here. Though I’ve read the Towerlight coverage and the blog, I think this post does more to help explain the conflict to me.


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