The Maroon Editorial Board’s recent portrayal of the Washington Park community (“Arrested Development,” 10/03/08) makes one wonder how cynically University of Chicago students see their neighbors and how naïvely they view their own school. Do we simply see “the neighborhood west of Cottage Grove” as “littered with vacant lots and the odd Harold’s Chicken Shack”? Or have we ventured off campus to also find numerous homes, churches, and small businesses—as well as America’s foremost museum of African-American history?
Do we think Alderman Pat Dowell responded to the “University’s decision to quietly buy up property along the East 55th Street corridor” because it presented an opportunity to “score political points” through “red-meat rhetoric”? Or because school officials originally told her that they were not buying any land in the third ward and then purchased the lots, quietly, through a third party? And how can the Editorial Board trust that the goal of these purchases is “a redevelopment effort” that potentially benefits “both the University and third-ward residents,” when there was no community input and there remains little effort to share the school’s plans?
Or can we think differently?
Toussaint Losier ’11
Ph.D. Student, History