Disclaimer: This is a satirical piece.
By Beth Casteel
It’s no secret that Cleveland gets a bad reputation. From the outsiders to the native Clevelanders themselves, people just think Cleveland isn’t the place to be.
For one Cleveland State University graduate student, Austin Foster, the stereotypes surrounding the city he grew up in was something that he wanted to put a stop to. So, Foster decided to take matters into his own hands and conducted a survey to see what the misconceptions are about the city he loves so much.
The survey consisted of 50 students who were born out of state, and it had them take a questionnaire to rate their experience and thoughts on Cleveland before and after they arrived to the city.
According to Foster, he was able to find that people unjustly profiled Cleveland as a bad place to live because of word-of-mouth from people who didn’t understand the positives of the city. Though, when asked if the after results were positive, Foster declined to answer.
“Honestly, I can’t believe people unfairly stereotype this beautiful, somewhat smelly, city,” Foster said. “I mean, really, what’s not to like about Cleveland?”
From his findings, apparently there’s a whole lot not to like, but he has reasons to believe that the study had some errors in them that he plans on going over to retest. Yet, he still went forward with his results because he needed to turn something in so he could graduate on time.
The biggest stereotype that Foster found from respondents was the safety of the city. Almost everyone that spoke to him noted that they heard Cleveland was one of the most dangerous areas, and if one were to walk down the street at night, there was a high chance of getting mugged.
While Foster maintains that it’s not the safest place to be alone in the middle of the night, bringing a can of mace and keeping a lookout for anything suspicious is probably enough to ensure safety.
Safety was the biggest thing that Foster found to be an issue, but he also noticed many of the surveyors noted that Cleveland was a boring city to live in. This finding was particularly troublesome for Foster.
Between various construction sites around the city, the great football team that is the Cleveland Browns and the amount of bands that come through the town, Foster wasn’t sure how anyone could be bored in a place like Cleveland.
“I personally love driving into the city and getting stuck in a line of traffic because they decided to take a giant chunk of the road out for no good reason,” Foster said. “Plus, who doesn’t love the Browns? They are the best team in the NFL.”
Surveyors also had a huge issue with the weather. Most of the respondents were from various parts of the world, and the climates in those areas were rather different from Cleveland. Yet, most checked that the weather was their least favorite part of living in the city because they couldn’t predict what the weather would be like for the next couple of days.
Foster sees their point that the weather can be unpredictable. He notes that most respondents aren’t used to the varying temperatures and climate changes, thus making them ill-prepared for such changes at no fault of the city.
While Foster may not agree with the survey, he does see potential for changing the stereotypes surrounding the city.
“I already have plans on making my next study more factually accurate, but I think this was a good start,” Foster said. “My goal is to have everyone see Cleveland as the great place it actually is.”