Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Blanket Statements

Blanket Statements

Some quotes from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine Student Handbook:

About St. Louis
"Within the past twenty years there has been renewed interest in the city and the downtown area is generally considered one of the most impressive of the Midwest. Laclede’s Landing is now a fashionable social spot." (hmmm... not necessarily a bad statement, although I'm not sure where the 20 years figure comes from precisely; and the Landing is more touristy than fashionable)

Housing
"St. Louis has bus service, but it would be difficult to depend on it to get to class." (Really?)
"In the city, you should live south of Delmar. In the county, live south of Page." (Oh, now my blood is boiling!)

Transportation
"The major advantage of living in the county is the comfort of getting away from the medical school and downtown St. Louis at the end of the day." (ah, yes, getting away from it all... except, don't you still have to study at home? And since when is Grand and Vista in downtown?)

"There is a bike route marked out from Clayton to downtown but it is really only there to keep bicyclists off the busier streets (call City Hall for a map)." (Interesting... if they're talking about Bike St. Louis, I've never heard that before. Since it includes parts of Grand and of Lindell, that sounds unlikely).

Dining
"Crown Candy Kitchen-1401 St. Louis Avenue, 621-9650-A little hard to get to, but definitely worth it.... Reasonably priced- Not in a good neighborhood."

I shouldn't be too hard on this document though. It wass probably written by students as advice to incoming students; it seems a couple years out-of-date; and it is really full of a lot of good general advice and tips on living in St. Louis.

I guess it's ok to suggest to people where they should live - but not on a web page of a public university that receives a great deal of Federal funding. While I'm not sure the Fair Housing Act necessarily applies in this instance, it probably should. Steering is bad, whether its done by your employer, your school, or your real estate agent.

Getting suggestions about good places to live is fine. But blanket statements like "In the city, you should live south of Delmar. In the county, live south of Page." seem blatantly racially motivated.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at this kind of attitude from SLU Med School - after all, it seems like many of the "SLUCare" physicians only spend one or maybe two days a week practicing at the Midtown campus. Presumably, this is where they do their required "charity" care. They even keep separate files and records at the suburban locations like University Club Tower on Brentwood Blvd. and the Bellevue Ave. Medical Buildings where many spend most of the week.

WashU Physicians aren't much different: when I needed to see an ear-nose-throat specialist this past summer, the Medical Campus "Center for Advanced Medicine" was booked up for over a month. Yet, mysteriously, when I need to see the same exact doctor, I was able to get in within the week at the 605 Old Ballas Road office in Creve Coeur.

They may be great doctors, but many of them (by no means all) are biased against urban living - just like many of their patients. And, evidently, many of their students.

4 comments:

Urban Review - St. Louis said...

OMG! It actually says to live south of Delmar? I've heard it before but never seen it actually in print. And to discourage use of the public transportation system. Tragic...

Michael Allen said...

Crown's hard to get to? It's right by a freakin' highway. I guess they were looking for any qualifiers they could find to discourage people from going into the badlands.

Anonymous said...

SLU's blanket statement made local news--Channel 2 and 5--on Friday, Nov. 18. It was the top story. In it, SLU defended itself by saying that they were leaders in "urban renewal" for Midtown (how accurate is that!) and that the student who wrote this piece is in fact African American.

Riiiight.

Joe said...

Here's the Channel 5 piece, including the video:

http://ksdk.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=88001