Citizens For A Better Norwood

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Xavier Newswire: Community outreach disheartening, broken

This week’s edition of the Xavier Newswire has both this article and this oped that describe the Community Building Institute’s effort to build relationships with Norwood and Evanston as disheartening and broken. The Institute’s Picket Slater Harrington is supposed to help students on the SGA’s (Student Government Association) Community Affairs Committee build relationships with the two communities; but, apparently, that help has been in short supply and/or ineffective, so the students have not made many inroads. Perhaps as a result of this lack of support from the “adults“ at Xavier, as the Newswire oped puts it, “the Community Affairs Committee has shifted its focus this semester to strengthening relationships between groups on campus."

West Norwood, and especially the Westwood Neighborhood Association, seems to get the lion’s share of the Community Building Institute’s attention, judging from previous media reports we’ve read in both the Enquirer and the Newswire. However, there seems to be a difference of opinion about just how involved Mr. Harrington is. He says he tries to attend WNNA meetings, but both the previous WNNA President Brian Watson and Ward I Councilperson Keith Ward tell the Newswire a different story: he has attended a few meetings only and those were meetings when something directly related to Xavier was on the agenda.

In November of 2004, Xavier announced it was awarded a HUD grant of $392,000 over three years to create a community outreach center to “address specific needs in the Norwood and Evanston communities.“ In view of the Newswire’s unfavorable reporting on this topic, perhaps it's time to ask which, if any, of those specific needs have been successfully addressed with the HUD grant. With the three-year funding cycle over, is there now a lack of money to fulfill Xavier's community outreach mission to Norwood and Evanston?