Tuesday, May 22, 2012
MOU signed with S Campus neighbours
For the past several months, the university and the South Campus Neighborhood Coalition have been working together to enhance community consultation on development of South Campus. I am pleased to say that the outcome of these discussions is the renewal and revitalization of the university’s relationship with its South Campus neighbours. We have a common, long-term understanding of how to clarify and improve the consultation process.
These discussions underscore our commitment to genuine community engagement that goes beyond physical development. It is critical that we keep the lines of communication open.
A memorandum of understanding was reached after several meetings with the coalition and several of us from the university: primarily VP Facilities & Operations Don Hickey, Provost Carl Amrhein and me, with support from members of our respective teams.
The MOU will guide consultation as we move forward with the development of South Campus and will include the creation of the South Campus Consultation Group. The principles in the memorandum are consistent with the existing consultation requirements of the Post Secondary Learning Act, the provincial legislation that guides the university.
As parties to the newly formed South Campus Consultation Group, we will use this document to guide us as we move forward. The MOU reinforces the university’s long-standing principles of consultation:
· Openness, trust and mutual respect
· Timely disclosure of information
· Public consultation early on in the decision-making process
· Sufficient time allotted for consultation
· Verification of accuracy of information when possible
· Opportunities for creative solutions to identified issues
What was particularly gratifying is that it became clear during our discussions that we had so much common ground. We all envision a South Campus that is environmentally and economically sustainable, a campus that serves the University of Alberta’s teaching and research mission while being a point of pride for our neighbours, friends, faculty, staff, students and alumni.
Indeed, even as the discussions have allowed us to renew our relationship with our neighbours, they have reminded us that–while we have relationships with communities around the world– the communities that are our closest neighbors are touched by our activities in ways that those that are further afield are not. They are affected by the rhythm of the U of A – the coming and going of students, our ceremonies such as convocation, the accessibility to events on campus, and of course the ways that we grow or change. We understand that our communities want more contact with the university.
It is important to recognize that this MOU and the new South Campus Consultation Group are additions to—not replacements for—our many other community relations and engagement activities, including work with the University of Alberta Community Committee, which is in the midst of its own revitalization process begun some months ago.
Here are details of the MOU.
Debra Pozega Osburn
Vice-President (University Relations)