What you see is not what you get: Facts a tour guide won’t tell you


Emily Wolfrum, Editor-in-Chief

“Building for the next 50 years,” reads the fence around our campus dirt pile. Beside it are photos of smiling Pace students, most of whom have had to find a new parking spot and paid a 10 percent increase in tuition as a result.

For any current Pace student, their first visit to the Pleasantville campus was probably a memorable one. Many city students are attracted to the suburban environment, while others appreciate the quaint, old buildings and Choate pond.

The brochures showed us what to expect, and aside from the yearly layer of green pond scum, our expectations were met. The campus matched the one we signed up for, at least for the first few years.

In fact, only current freshmen were even given warning about the Master Plan prior to enrolling. For the rest of us, the news came through rumored small talk last year, only becoming real once a major parking lot was closed.

And, while juniors and seniors can reminisce of the good old days before the Master Plan, freshmen and incoming students can look forward to spending their college years near caution tape and power drills, just waiting until all of the shiny new features they’ve been promised are actualized.

With the Master Plan underway, and the worst part yet to come, the sad shell of a campus that incoming students see today is only a glimpse of the hell they can expect in September, and it seems as though every accommodation the school tries to make simply misleads new students further.

Prospective student tours still begin at Kessel Student Center, which will be closed the day after graduation and unavailable for event use throughout the next academic year. Current organizations have been urged to utilize space in Briarcliff, but warned not to get too comfortable as the campus won’t be Pace’s for much longer.

Although incoming students are aware of the Master Plan, tour guides are confronted with the issue of pitching the vision of the closed parking lot and pile of dirt to students still considering Pace.

During Preview Weekends, Admitted Students Days, and other visits, Welcome Center Manager Kaitlin Elliot informs students and parents of the Master Plan prior to any tours. But is a pre-tour briefing really enough? Would you sign away $50 thousand with only the security of a few computer simulations to calm your apprehensions?

Under current campus conditions, I certainly would not have. As a sophomore, I barely want to stay.

“When I used to give my tours, I tried not to attract attention to the giant pile of dirt on campus,” junior applied psychology and human relations major Francesco Blandino said.

Blandino, who has since left his position as a campus tour guide, emphasized that his resignation was not the result of addressing construction in tours, but rather “other things.”

In addition to the headache of construction, tour guides cited the quality of cafeteria food, drugs and alcohol, and Internet connection as difficult talking points with prospective students and parents.

“If a parent asks ‘do you think the food is good?’ we’re told to answer honestly,” an anonymous tour guide said during Saturday’s Admitted Students Day. But this honesty only goes so far. The same tour guide later stated, “We won’t go into detail, but say that we have options. You’re not allowed to say bad things, only show it in a positive light.”

Tour guides are instructed in training to accentuate these positives, which include free laundry, wireless printing, and security.

Besides, students will learn what to do when their laundry is stolen or their Internet won’t connect soon enough.

“All the time I’ve gotten asked about drugs, how the girls are, what happens here, and you have to deflect the question,” said another tour guide. “You have to say, ‘I wouldn’t know’ to appease the parents, but students get upset because they know it happens.”

Tour guides may have to follow a script, but everyone will know the rumored truths that Pace students have begrudgingly accepted as normalcies, and, before long, experience them first hand. So, newcomers, take that tour with a grain of salt, or dirt.