Open Letter to Chancellor Patrick Gallagher

This is a reprint of a post from www.oaklanddignity.com

February 6, 2017

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher
University of Pittsburgh

Lack of Dignity

Chancellor Gallagher:

On March 3, 2016, I wrote you a four-page letter that is on the website OaklandDignity.com should you need to refresh your memory. This will be much shorter and to the point.

You betrayed the trust that our community had in you for a new beginning to resolve the myriad of problems caused by the university’s presence. Not only is your administration a continuation of the shameful, self-centered policies of its predecessors, but our community’s problems have greatly escalated under it.

There are two pathways toward change: dignity and tragedy. You are on the pathway of tragedy, and it is only a matter of how much more our community must endure before your administration has a major change of conscience.

The university’s uncontrolled student growth has led to a vast increase in the scourge of drugs, binge drinking, and burglary in our community. Mark A. Nordenberg Hall never should have been built several years ago to house 559 first-year students only. Again, that building illustrates the self-centeredness and lack of dignity by the university toward our community. It must be converted to sophomore and junior housing, and the increase in student population must be controlled.

Pitt Police Department personnel risk their lives every day to protect our community and they have our highest respect. Their numbers must be increased, as well as any necessary resources they need, to fight the escalating and horrific drugs, binge drinking, and burglaries that permeate your campus as well as our community.

In the past, I had suggested that a few individuals be hired by the university to drive through our neighborhood and report illegal drinking activities so that residents don’t have to face the dread and fear of retaliation in reporting these problems (something that you, your administrators, and faculty don’t have to face personally). This had been rejected by the university then, but must be implemented now.

Twenty years ago, I delivered a letter to your predecessor delineating the filthy trash and litter problems in our community caused mainly by students. That same letter could still hold its weight today. Even though my solution has been rejected by both the previous administration and yours, no one at your institution of higher learning has come up with a better solution to end these problems. Those filthy conditions send a signal to others that this is a community that doesn’t care, when in reality it is the university administrators and faculty that have lacked the dignity to put an end to these problems. You have the funding to end the problems—so do it.

This letter will be sent to Carnegie Mellon University President Subra Suresh, who is also carrying on a shameful tradition of lack of dignity toward our community. Instead of competing with him to purchase more land, resulting in greater destruction of our community, you must change your priorities. You must initiate talks with him to work together to resolve your universities’, and our community’s, problems.

The above solutions will entail a dramatic paradigm shift in university policies. The interests and welfare of our community must take precedence over university affairs. This is something that has never been done in the 108-year history of Pitt, and the 115-year history of CMU in Oakland. This future can be achieved, but it will take a love, courage, and commitment to our community that goes far beyond anything that exists today.

Carlino Giampolo