Letters to the Editor 4/24

Apartment hunters beware of scams, poor management

It is nearing the end of the academic year, and many students are beginning to look at apartments for the coming year. I would like to inform other USF students about the treatment I have received from a local apartment complex. After careful consideration of many apartments, I chose Avalon Heights. Before signing my lease, I was assured, on many occasions by the apartment manager, that my apartment would be complete as well as all of the advertised amenities. My move-in date was postponed for over three weeks while the apartments were being “completed.” During these three weeks, I moved into a temporary apartment.

As I was moving all my belongings up four flights of stairs, I quickly learned the elevators were not up and running yet. Upon entering my temporary apartment, I discovered the room had not been cleaned. Construction debris was everywhere. The hot water was not working properly, so I immediately reported this to the office. The apartment manager assured me it would be fixed that day.

After repeatedly pleading with personnel to fix it, I finally received hot water four days later. The phone was not working. Avalon provided one cellular phone per apartment. But each apartment would only receive one 250-minute phone card. This phone card was used within days, and after that we were on our own for two weeks.

Throughout the time in my temporary apartment the power would often go out. Construction crews awakened me daily. Avalon Heights was a construction site and not an apartment complex.

One morning I discovered my new black car covered in white paint. The construction workers painted close to my car without covering it. Every day there was a new problem to deal with. I dealt with many of these issues, because the apartment manager assured me everything would go much smoother when the new apartments opened.

Weeks later, it was finally time to move into my brand new apartment. Upon entering my new apartment, I was devastated. It was not only disgustingly dirty from the construction, but also finished very hastily. I spent the day cleaning before I could move my things in.

Within minutes my new roommate and I noticed enormous differences between our apartment and the model shown to us. The model had ceilings almost two feet higher than ours. Our balconies were unsafe. The rails were not connected to the sidewalls. The oven was thrown in so quickly it was noticeably lopsided. My ceiling had large stripes where I could see the cinder blocks. In addition, the phones were still not working properly, and construction debris was everywhere.

My roommate and I immediately questioned the apartment manager who made it known it was no longer her problem. I also questioned the manager about the assortment of amenities promised in their brochure. These amenities were promised to be complete at the time of move in. Seven months later few are completed and many are still under construction.

My roommate and I addressed all of our issues in writing, and the response we received from the Avalon Heights manager was ridiculous and incoherent. I feel I have been misled and deceived throughout these months. The manager quickly dismissed all of my complaints.

Numerous students have mirrored these same problems and have been met with similar unprofessional attitudes. I have been taken advantage of, and I would like to inform other USF students so it will not continue.

Meaghan C. Culp is a USF student.

Catholic Church should admit to its transgressions

The Catholic Church has only itself to blame for the humiliating publicity it has felt recently, according to “Church officials also to blame,” an editorial printed by The Oracle last month. As the author states, it is indeed time for church officials to surrender, expose the evils of off ending priests and beg their parishioners for forgiveness.

Catholic church officials can no longer turn their backs to the sexual abuse and corruption taking place. In doing so, they have allowed this form of corruption to proliferate in the church for over three decades. Why did these problems take so long to reach the public? Jennifer Armour, a member of St. Catherine’s Church, explains, “Kids wouldn’t tell their parents they were being abused by priests because they [the parents] just wouldn’t believe you … You could never tell your parents that a priest did that because everyone thought that was unthinkable.”

Even more appalling is Boston priest Father John Geoghan. Investigations into Geoghan’s 30-year career show that he allegedly molested over 130 children.

Furthermore, Geoghan was never punished by church officials, simply moved to other congregations within the diocese, while the families of the abused children were told to pray for their fallen Father. Church officials had the opportunity to stop Geoghan’s immoral actions years ago but they refused; and by moving Geoghan throughout the diocese, they simply perpetuated the problem.

What sort of message is this sending to the community at large? For years, church officials knew of the abuse, and yet did nothing. By ignoring the problem, officials allowed the continuation of child molestation.

However, it is now time for them to receive their punishment. In Boston, officials who turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual abuse are finding themselves in the midst of civil lawsuits, as are others involved around the country.

I confirm the author’s statement that it will be a long road before parishioners can once again trust the church, as it should be. Priests are the backbone of that institution; they are authority figures and confidants, comforters and spiritual guides. To think that they could commit such immoral acts on children is appalling; however, to help keep these improper actions hidden from the public eye is just as bad. The concerns raised by officials about sexual abuse have occurred too late, and it is only in an effort to save face for the public.

It seems as though Catholic priests and church officials have kept their appalling deeds under the rug for too long; it is now time for them to take ownership of their transgressions.

Melissa Phillips is a freshman double majoring in psychology and criminology.

Media ‘professionals’ should set good grammar example

This is in response to the April 11 letter: “Proper usage of English depends on background.”

I’d like to take issue with Ms. Edwards’ implying that one must excuse a speaker’s poor grammar because he or she is not a native speaker. My mother has been a resident of the United States for the last 40 years, and she speaks with better grammar than most “professional” wordsmiths. Who are these “professionals?”

Journalists, anchormen and women, radio hosts and personalities, and those who do voice-overs lead the list. During the average news broadcast, I can count at least one mistake, whether it is grammatical or unprofessional, each minute.

Why do we teach English in grade school if these “professionals” speak as though they did not pass fifth grade grammar? Anchor people have become hardly more than pretty faces with nice salaries. Let us hire a few kindergartners since they speak as well and would work for “chicken feed.”

It is acknowledged that language is constantly changing, but shouldn’t it be for the better? I’ve heard people in their 40s and 50s speak like babies – literally. Five-year-olds are very proud of themselves to say four- and five-syllable words, yet these “professionals” chop their words into one-syllable codes.

For example, “agricultural official” has been hacked into “ag. official.” When we start to grunt to communicate, I hope that a dictionary will have been devised. I already bemoan the lost beauty of the English language as I try to relate to this simplistic cacophony.

It is sad and ironic that people from the Indian sub-continent speak and write better than these “professionals” – and English is not their native language.

What is most sad is that the reporters of the printed medium communicate just as miserably, and they’re the ones who have the time to proofread and edit.

All of the fields of mass communications write and sound like telegraphic messages. It’s the result of the “dumbifying'” of our culture.

Elka Zwick is a USF alumna.