No Girls Allowed

I’m currently blogging from a very comfortable men’s only section of the City Union, here at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

It is very comfortable because of the fireplace, which is the focus of the room. A merry wreath sits above it in the middle of a grad facade. A chanedlier and lifty lamps complete the exterior, with a pendulum clock and wifi completing the feeling.

It’s men only, out of safety if not dictate, because of UNL’s policy of welcoming the homeless (thus, often, the deranged) on campus. The one-sided conversation between one of the gents and his imaginary partner would be interesting if it was audible or coherent. His very real companions do not seem to mind.

After all, it’s a very comfortable (if exclusively male) section of the City Union, here at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

3 thoughts on “No Girls Allowed”

  1. Depends on the circumstance under which the homeless were allowed on campus. If it's a really cold night where people without shelter are likely to die, bringing them in is appropriate. Otherwise, the school's feelings of charity might be better spent finding ways to end their homeless status.

  2. This may be a once-in-a-lifetime event: I agree with you.

    Homeless doesn't necessarily mean deranged, but at least three of the homeless men who wander around the Union at night do seem to have mental issues that could endanger others. They need help, but allowing them to possibly harm college students doesn't help anybody.

  3. fl,

    Well said.

    There's this bizarre assumption that enabling people who have mental problem helps them and is a good thing. Bizarre and dangerous.

    Michael,

    The shelter is about three to four blocks away.

    There is only so much an organization can do to help those who do not want help. So UNL chooses the feel-good approach of endangering students and making some areas of the union effective no-go zones.

  4. “The shelter is about three to four blocks away.” Refer to previous comment: How cold was it? Giving shelter to people who can't make it to the homeless shelter without freezing to death is more understandable than doing it to be nice.

    As for better uses for UNL's charitable instincts, I wasn't thinking of shelter so much as maybe setting up drug and psychiatric counceling clinics on campus. Depending on how large your psychiatry department is, you could better serve the students on campus with serious mental health issues (last I looked college counceling centers were the mental equivalent of Triage and first aid), serve those homeless people who want help and give your psych students hands-on experience.

  5. Michael,

    Temps were probably between 10 and 20 F, so not unusual for January. The distance between my office and the union is just slightly shorter than between the union and the shelter, and I walked it fine.

    UNL doesn't have a psychiatric program, as medicine is handled by the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Since the 1970s, however, the major roadblock toward psychiatric counseling has been that those who need it typically don't want it, and it's very hard to force them to have it.

  6. Psychologically, associative behavior-modification training works if a patient keeps at it, but it's slow and boring and destined to fail among those radically now-centered.

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