Letter to the Editor by William Bahus

Feb. 20, 2018

When I saw the headline “PNW recognized as Military Friendly School” in the Jan. 22 issue, I thought it was satire. After reading the article, I did some research and found that Military Friendly relies on self-reporting to make their assessments and it all became clear.

You see, I am a veteran, a current student and an alumnus. It has been my experience that PNW loves to pay lip service to the veterans’ community, but offers little in the way of real support. Walk over to the Office of Veterans Services in SUL (Hammond) and take a look. One office that is about 10 feet by 25 feet serves as a study area, tutoring area, general use area and lounge.

See the four computers on the desks? Only two work and they’re too close together to offer either privacy or work room. See the one round table? If one person is trying to study and write, it essentially takes up the entire table. See the ottoman? We’ve asked to get rid of it and get another table on multiple occasions.

Now look on the wall. You’ll see a certificate for our chapter of SALUTE, the National Honor Society for Veterans. A few other veterans and I chartered our chapter when it was PUC. Akili Shakur and I spent much of the fall semester trying to gain support from the administration to restart
the chapter, but the administrators were always too busy. One meeting was canceled because something “came up” with the Honors College.

Speaking of Akili, she was the one person on the Hammond campus whose sole responsibility was veterans support and taking care of the veterans. She was laid off effective Jan. 31 with no apparent plan for continuation of services to veterans.

If you happen to see a student worker while visiting the office, know that he or she is paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs, not the school. When it was Purdue University Calumet, there was a full-time secretary on staff who knew how to get students help. When she found better employment, the university changed to using student workers that utilize vocational rehabilitation to be paid for. These student workers, through no fault of their own, cannot provide the support on their own.

Now walk down the hall to look into the Honors College. How much money was spent renovating that space for them?Now think about how you would feel if you were a veteran with an issue that needed resolved, had to walk past the honors college only to find “your” office closed or, almost as bad, open but looking like an afterthought.

When or if you visit the veterans office in Hammond, talk to the veterans there see if they feel that PNW is truly a “military friendly” school. I bet they don’t.

Thank you,

William Bahus
Senior College of Technology
B.A. PUC 2015
U.S. Army 1985-1994