Members of the University faculty and staff are circulating a letter in support of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park.
The letter has more than 50 signatures from faculty and staff as of the time of publication. It follows another faculty letter published last month asking the Obama Foundation to consider alternate sites for the Center.
The letter highlights the Center’s potential to create jobs and spur growth, contribute to Frederick Law Olmstead’s original vision for Jackson Park, and inspire civic engagement in the surrounding community through its focus on education.
The letter’s authors also say they hope the Center will provide an opportunity for members of the University to interact with the surrounding community. “We look forward to University-OPC collaborations that can enhance our diverse University community, facilitate our efforts in recruiting and retaining excellent staff, students and faculty, and provide new opportunities to link University research, training, and civic engagement initiatives in ways that strengthen individual lives and neighborhoods on the Southside.”
The letter concludes by encouraging community members to give feedback on the Center through the Obama Foundation’s official channels to solicit input,. According to the letter’s authors, “We recognize the problems inherent in planning any public project that touches many interests, but let us remember Chicago’s city motto “Urbs in horto”, (city in a garden) and not participate in the behavior that led columnist Mike Royko to suggest a change to “Ubi est Mea” (where’s mine?).”
Clarification on Feb. 9, 2018, 1:48 p.m. CST:
This article was edited after publication to make clear that the letter did not explicitly call for community members with concerns about the library not to protest.