Sign outside The Cup raises questions, prompts conversation

Original – Feb. 8, 2017 – Published Here:

The Cup at Farrington Square posted a sign on its front door last week with a new store policy: no more than two Broughal Middle School students in the ice cream shop at a time. The sign was removed Tuesday.

The sign previously read only one student was allowed at a time, but it was changed to two before ultimately being taken down.

Rick Buckenmyer, owner of The Cup, said the rule originated due to the amount of students that enter the store after the school day. The kids come in large groups, he said, leading to the shop becoming overcrowded.

Adrienne Washington, the assistant vice president of community and regional affairs, said she had the issue brought to her by a community member who said the sign could send the wrong message to the surrounding area. She said the worry was this might disrupt the relationship Lehigh has with Broughal.

Washington said the businesses in Farrington Square, while a part of Lehigh’s campus, are privately owned, but many within Lehigh’s community and the surrounding area make the assumption they are part of the university.

“Most people don’t understand that those businesses (in Farrington Square) are contracts,” Washington said, “and we don’t want people to think that Broughal students are not welcome on our campus.”

Washington said she brought the problem to the attention of Lehigh’s University Business Services, which controls The Cup’s lease. Once Washington did this, the sign was taken down shortly after.

Buckenmyer said the Broughal students often do not buy anything. Sometimes they ask for some water or buy a 10-cent pretzel stick, he said, but they hardly buy any ice cream. Since instituting the rule last week, Buckenmyer said he hadn’t had any complaints, and the kids had been following the rule.

Buckenmyer said if anybody had a real issue with the sign, he would explain his reasoning to them, but nobody had questioned him about it.

Johnny’s Bagels & Deli, also located in Farrington Square, has not had the same issues. A Johnny’s employee said Broughal kids don’t normally come in their store, but they’d allow it if they wanted to.

Saxby’s, the coffee shop across from Farrington Square, declined to comment due to a corporate rule about speaking to reporters.

Carolina Hernandez, the director of the community service office who often works with Broughal, said she was disappointed The Cup didn’t reach out to the middle school in order to foster a discussion about the problems they were having.

“If there is an issue with any Broughal student, they could reach out to the school and have a great conversation with the principal or a community school director,” Hernandez said. “They would work together to figure out what’s going on and learn about the situation and address it before it escalates to a situation where there’s a sign on the door.”

Broughal’s principal could not be reached for comment on the issue.

Harry August, ‘17, said the rule sounds unfair to the middle school students.

“If they’re just going in and not buying stuff, then that’s why they would have that,” August said. “But if they want two at a time, that sounds pretty weird.”

Melissa Marks, ‘17, said she thinks the middle schoolers were probably being unruly in order to warrant this kind of policy.

“I would assume it’s just crazy middle schoolers and they just want two at a time, or it could be something much worse like they prefer to have Lehigh students or customers more than middle schoolers,” Marks said.

August and Marks were both worried this kind of rule could be harmful to Lehigh’s reputation and its relationship with South Bethlehem because The Cup is closely associated with the university.

Marks fears Lehigh’s reputation with the South Side is already poor. She studies the relationship closely in her urban-planning classes. Despite Lehigh’s aim to mend that relationship, The Cup’s policy goes against those goals, she said.

“I know it’s a business that’s leasing space from Lehigh, so it’s not Lehigh saying it, but I could understand how the perception quickly became a Lehigh thing,” Hernandez said. “I’m not going to lie, I’m disappointed by the sign.”


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