On a recent Saturday night, I was visiting a friend who lives near Old Dominion University. As I walked down his street, a man approached me and hit me in the face.
I wasn't severely hurt. I notified the police, but my friend told me that this was normal, and the guy was probably a local resident.
I blame the school for not putting a greater emphasis on community relations. Students often take up all the parking on residential streets or throw raucous parties that disturb their neighbors well into the early morning hours (I once was one of those neighbors). Students' disdain for local residents is incredible.
ODU officials' stance seems to be that eventually, the school will just push all non-student residents out, and the problem will be solved. That's a horrible approach, and no wonder it leads to violence between local residents and students.
The school and the students have forgotten that Norfolk is a thriving community that does not rely on the university to survive. As ODU pushes more into neighboring areas, the school would do well to focus on making that transition amicable. The school should spend more money on policing and educating its student body on proper community relations.
However, for the time being, it seems that ODU cares only about building bigger stadiums and parking garages. It's a shame, too, because innocent people have been seriously hurt because of the school's reckless policy of encroachment.