12/14/10

Imperialist Universities or Paranoid Neighbors?

Town-gown relations in DC aren't very good and could get worse if Vince Gray decides to lift enrollment caps for local universities. From Freeman Klopott:
On Monday, school officials argued during a summit on job creation led by Gray that the District should remove those caps to help grow the city's economy.
After the meeting, Gray told
The Washington Examiner
 that he was open to the idea, although cautious about moving forward.
"I need to understand more about what these [university] jobs would be and reasons for those caps," Gray said. "Historically, there have been tensions between the universities and the neighborhoods in which they reside."
One of the universities mentioned is American, where, I should note for the purposes of full disclosure, I work*, which is currently working on the next iteration of its ten year campus plan. But maybe it's not only working on the campus plan, but also a deep, dark and nefarious scheme, at least according to this guy:
There's also concern in Tenleytown that the university has been buying up property beyond what the campus plan calls for, said Jon Bender, an advisory neighborhood commission representative for the area.
"American University does seem to have a limitless appetite for acquiring property," Bender said. "It breeds suspicion among some folks that A.U. has imperialistic designs on the community."
So, there you have it. Imperialist university or paranoid neighbors? I report, you decide.

* I was also a student at Georgetown. My town-gown credibility is pretty low from the town perspective.

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