Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BC Busing Students to Pack the Audience at BRA Board Meeting

Boston College's 10-year Institutional Master Plan goes to the Boston Redevelopment Authority's Board Thursday afternoon for a public hearing and likely vote.

Word out of the Chestnut Hill campus is that BC officials are trying to pack the room with students, going so far as providing a bus direct from campus to City Hall.

Alumni have been emailed in a last-minute attempt to deluge City Hall with support. And BC employees who live in Brighton have been contacted directly to ask them to attend and speak at the hearing.

The last time BC used hard-ball tactics like these, Mayor Thomas Menino was none-too-pleased.

Jack Dunn, Director of Public Affairs at BC, called for students to attend in Monday's edition of The Heights, the BC student newspaper:
Dunn encouraged students to attend the meeting in support of the IMP.

"It's a public hearing. Anyone can go. Anyone can speak, and they hear all voices," Dunn said. "We would encourage members of the BC community, students, faculty, and staff to support the plan."
The editorial board of The Heights further called for students to attend.

Those general appeals were followed up by an official email from Judy Robinson, Assistant Dean for Student Development ("off-campus dean"), which was sent out to many undergraduate students to notify them that one (or more?) buses would be running them from campus direct to City Hall for Thursday's hearing.

Who arranged the full-sized bus to convey the students direct to Mayor Menino's digs? None other than the Office of Governmental and Community Affairs at BC, who wants students to "be a presence" at the meeting, according to the email. Packing the hearing room with students doesn't sound like a very community-friendly program, does it?

Email appeals went out to BC alumni this week asking them to contact city government (both the BRA and the Allston-Brighton coordinator of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services) to express last-minute support for the university's IMP; they were also encouraged to attend the BRA hearing Thursday, thereby further packing the room.

This week's alumni appeal email was written by Thomas Keady, Jr., Vice President for Governmental and Community Affairs, and John Feudo, Associate VP of the BC Alumni Association.

Last June, Mayor Menino objected strongly to William Leahy, S.J., President of BC, sending letters to BC alumni encouraging them to write or call the BRA to submit public comments.

Keady doesn't appear to be satisfied with packing the hearing room with just students and alumni. He is reportedly personally calling BC employees who live in Brighton to twist their arms to attend. One such recipient of Keady's tactics felt manipulated by such a high-ranking BC official, realizing that he had little choice but to attend. There were many such BC employees in attendance at the BC Task Force meeting earlier this month, sitting towards the back, mostly silently.

Image of tour buses by Proggie provided through a Creative Commons license.

1 comment:

Factor X-11 said...

glad to see this up and running again!