Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More Campaign Literature: This Time From Boston College

Last night I found yet another piece of campaign literature on my front porch. Not from a candidate for City Council, though. This one was a copy of the Boston College Neighbor newsletter -- a gift from BC's Office of Governmental and Community Affairs, part of their campaign to win approval for their institutional master plan. It's the first such newsletter I've ever received from BC. It should not be confused with the separate "Boston College Neighborhood Newsletter" issued by the Boston College Neighborhood Center.

Don't get me wrong: this flyer is a welcome piece of literature. One City Council candidate, Alex Selvig, complained in the 7/23 forum about lack of notification from BC about their expansion plans:
Meetings have been going on for Boston College's expansion for two years before I found out about it. I live across the street.
I live a quarter-mile from the corner of the former St. John's Seminary land, not across the street, so the fact that I just received this flyer is a sign of BC's good intentions to communicate better with the neighborhood. Kudos.

The newsletter leads off with a quick description of their institutional master plan, stating that they intend to file the Institutional Master Plan Notification Form with the BRA in "early September 2007."

One of the six pages was, well, an advertisement for BC football games. And the newsletter had a large refrigerator magnet insert, also advertising the football games. But this magnet was not the same one they are presumably distributing to alumni and students: ours had a sticker attached to the top-right giving the [BC] "Community Hotline" phone number: 617-552-2443.

Inside the newsletter, they let on: the number is the hotline "During Football Games." Up late because of a rowdy undergraduate party next door? Try the BC Police instead at 617-552-4440. To BC's further credit, they include an article on page 2 about Stephen Montgomery and the Community Assistance Program (CAP), along with instructions to call the police number above for "neighborhood disturbances." They are distributing this newsletter in advance of the August 31 student move-in date, so that neighbors know what to do from day one if noisy undergraduates start partying on their street.

Finally, for the first time BC announced the names of the newest recipients of the "Allston/Brighton Scholarships" -- up to ten full-tuition scholarships for Allston-Brighton residents who were admitted to BC, provided as part of the Community Benefits under Article 80 of the zoning code. Only seven A-B residents qualified this year as having "institutionally determined need of greater than $10,000," so the other three awards went to city-wide students.

This new transparency by BC is a fine change of heart; Vice President Thomas Keady, Jr., claimed in the January 16, 2007 meeting of the BC Task Force that the recipients' names could not be disclosed due to privacy concerns.

The 2007-8 recipients are: Su Yu, Boston Latin School, Allston; Bilal Ahmed, Boston Latin School, Brighton; Rachel Buckley, Ursuline Academy, Brighton; Nairobi Oller, Brighton High School, Brighton; Tara Prince, Boston Latin School, Brighton; Colby Riordan, Boston Latin School, Brighton; Jennifer Hartin, Boston Latin School, Brighton; Angela Caputo-Papastamos, English High School, Roslindale; Jean-Baptiste Errgy, English High School, Dorchester; and Janet Yu, John D. O'Bryant School, Boston.

No names were given, however, for the sophomores, juniors, and seniors at BC who are continuing to receive these scholarships (they are "renewable annually"), one of whom was mentioned at a previous BC Task Force meeting. Those names would be a fine addition to the next edition of the newsletter... or for their Boston College institutional master plan online website. (Hint, hint: also put an electronic version of this newsletter on the website!)

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