The water tower at Rowan University notes the connection with Glassboro. -Multimedia Editor/Miguel Martinez

The events last Monday were an unfortunate eye opener that showed how divided and different Rowan and Glassboro really are. For those not familiar with what transpired, Rowan students received an alert on Oct. 1 detailing how Glassboro police identified a vehicle belonging to someone who was reportedly armed on campus. However, the vehicle belonged to an unarmed black Rowan student who was subsequently pulled over and held at gunpoint, along with his friend.

Luckily, no one was harmed and no charges were filed on Altaif Hassan, but the event soon gained backlash on how the Glassboro police interact with students of color as a whole.

Unfortunately, the event came as no surprise to some Rowan students who’ve always distrusted the Glassboro police. Due to what some deem to be an unfair and expensive ticketing process that discriminates against college students, and students of color experiencing what they call “constant harassment” from the police, the anger and outrage towards Glassboro’s response is truly understandable.  

On the flipside, the residents of Glassboro have experienced a huge and sudden change in their community. For over the past 10 years the student population has nearly doubled. As a result, old land was purchased and new building projects began around the area to accommodate the rising student and staff population. If you drive down Main Street/County Road 533, the road separating “downtown Rowan” and Old Glassboro, you can see an almost night and day difference between the two areas. Unfortunately, it closely resembles gentrification.  

This has got the established residents, who are primarily minorities and elderly, spooked as some may be forced to move their homes and businesses due to Rowan’s growing student population. For some residents who’ve been in the area for decades, they don’t want to be forced to leave their homes because a group of rowdy 20-year-old college kids need somewhere to eat and sleep.

However, one thing is for sure. Not only do they have to protect Glassboro residents, but now they may have to worry about Rowan students at large. Furthermore, Rowan’s lack of dialogue and transparency with the residents of Glassboro has only caused more harm to Rowan students who wish to speak out on cases such as the event last Monday.

Rowan and Glassboro may need to take into account how they do their jobs in the near future because the events last Monday may only be a symptom of an already growing problem between the students at Rowan and the residents of Glassboro.

For questions/comments about this column, email editor@thewhitonline.com or tweet @TheWhitOnline.  

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