[HOME]

  1. Introduction
  2. Open Letter to the Board of Trustees
  3. University's Response to Open Letter
  4. Response to University
  5. YouTube Documentary
  6. Preuniversity Settlers
  7. Oakland Bill of Rights
  8. Declaration of Freedom
  9. Problems
  10. Solutions
  11. Actions
  12. UPMC
  13. PITT
    SempleFest
  14. Jul. '09
  15. Aug. '09
  16. Sept. '09
  17. Oct. '09
  18. Origin of SOUL
  19. WPXI - Group talks trash
  20. National Disgrace
  21. Gratitude
  22. Support Letters
  23. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  24. Pittsburgh City Paper
  25. Media - Broken Trust?
  26. Feb. '10
  27. Jun. '10
  28. Done Deal?
  29. Mayor's Reply
  30. Pitt Fireworks
  31. Pitt Fireworks
  32. Pitt Fireworks
  33. Aug. '10
  34. Sep. '10
  35. Letter to Legislators
  36. Letter to Chancellor
  37. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  38. A Call for Compassion
  39. WPXI Coverage
  40. Human Dignity
  41. Letter to the Editor
  42. SempleFest
  43. Request for Apology
  44. The Shame of a University
  45. Firebombs Must End
  46. Call To Action
  47. Fireworks Press Release
  48. Shadow on the Lawn
  49. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article
  50. Right-to-Know Law Testimony
  51. University Impact Aid Law
  52. Proposal University Impact Aid Law
  53. Nordenberg Must Resign
  54. Allegheny County Council Testimony
  55. Time for New Leadership Message
  56. Time for New Leadership Testimony
  57. Class-Action Lawsuit?
  58. Nordenberg Must Resign Paid Message
  59. Time for A New Beginning
  60. Letter to the Editor
  61. Letter to the Editor
  62. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  63. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article
  64. A New Paradigm
  65. In Memoriam: Robert "Bob" Casciato
  66. Symbol of Domination
  67. Revised University Impact Aid Proposal
  68. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  69. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  70. Community Objectives
  71. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  72. City Planning Commission Testimonies
  73. Letter to Chancellor Patrick Gallagher
  74. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  75. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  76. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  77. End The Shame
  78. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  79. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  80. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  81. Decimation of an Urban Community
  82. Syndicate
  83. 18 Questions
  84. Dishonest Public Position
 
Enough Is Enough! Trashed street photo.

[HOME]

  1. Introduction
  2. Open Letter to the Board of Trustees
  3. University's Response to Open Letter
  4. Response to University
  5. YouTube Documentary
  6. Preuniversity Settlers
  7. Oakland Bill of Rights
  8. Declaration of Freedom
  9. Problems
  10. Solutions
  11. Actions
  12. UPMC
  13. PITT
    SempleFest
  14. Jul. '09
  15. Aug. '09
  16. Sept. '09
  17. Oct. '09
  18. Origin of SOUL
  19. WPXI - Group talks trash
  20. National Disgrace
  21. Gratitude
  22. Support Letters
  23. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  24. Pittsburgh City Paper
  25. Media - Broken Trust?
  26. Feb. '10
  27. Jun. '10
  28. Done Deal?
  29. Mayor's Reply
  30. Pitt Fireworks
  31. Pitt Fireworks
  32. Pitt Fireworks
  33. Aug. '10
  34. Sep. '10
  35. Letter to Legislators
  36. Letter to Chancellor
  37. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  38. A Call for Compassion
  39. WPXI Coverage
  40. Human Dignity
  41. Letter to the Editor
  42. SempleFest
  43. Request for Apology
  44. The Shame of a University
  45. Firebombs Must End
  46. Call To Action
  47. Fireworks Press Release
  48. Shadow on the Lawn
  49. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article
  50. Right-to-Know Law Testimony
  51. University Impact Aid Law
  52. Proposal University Impact Aid Law
  53. Nordenberg Must Resign
  54. Allegheny County Council Testimony
  55. Time for New Leadership Message
  56. Time for New Leadership Testimony
  57. Class-Action Lawsuit?
  58. Nordenberg Must Resign Paid Message
  59. Time for A New Beginning
  60. Letter to the Editor
  61. Letter to the Editor
  62. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  63. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article
  64. A New Paradigm
  65. In Memoriam: Robert "Bob" Casciato
  66. Symbol of Domination
  67. Revised University Impact Aid Proposal
  68. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  69. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  70. Community Objectives
  71. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  72. City Planning Commission Testimonies
  73. Letter to Chancellor Patrick Gallagher
  74. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  75. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  76. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  77. End The Shame
  78. Pittsburgh City Council Testimony
  79. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  80. Letter to Chancellor Gallagher
  81. Decimation of an Urban Community
  82. Syndicate
  83. 18 Questions
  84. Dishonest Public Position

The Problems

Is the University of Pittsburgh the poster child for the abuse of a community? It is your call to make after reviewing this website and verifying the information with University of Pittsburgh personnel. What you see on this particular link barely scratches the surface of the many indignities experienced by Oakland’s long-time residents.

Our grassroots movement has tirelessly attempted to resolve the numerous problems listed in the Oakland Community Bill of Rights seen near the beginning of this website. However, too often our community has been dismissed, ignored or stonewalled by the University administrators.

The problem of binge drinking in our community is appalling and getting worse. These are brief stories of only one street, and residents of various streets throughout the neighborhood can tell similar stories. Numerous calls to 911 are made for drinking parties, including what appear to be unauthorized fraternity parties, which awaken residents in the early morning hours. A resident was nearly killed or seriously injured when a student at a drinking party threw a glass gin bottle that narrowly missed her. Six widows live on the street in question, and these women live in fear of calling 911 because of potential retaliation by drunken students. One of these women had papers stuffed in her drain spout, which resulted in significant property damage when the water backed up into her home and damaged the kitchen ceiling. An 86-year-old resident had his car keyed and tires slashed, a dog poisoned and kittens stolen, and feces thrown into his yard. These and other atrocities were requital for reporting students’ drunken parties. Who would want their mother, father, grandmother, or grandfather to live with this kind of indignity?

A woman on another street advises neighbors to turn off the lights in their houses when calling 911 in order to avoid student retaliation.

Pitt’s Assistant Vice Chancellor of Community Relations lacks a staff to manage the drinking problems in our community. The deficiency is well exemplified by a response to drunken students cutting down a tree at 2 o’clock in the morning. The Assistant Vice Chancellor attended a community meeting in response, taking with him a volunteer student to address the problem. The long-time resident who reported the original incident decided not to pursue the issue, for fear of retaliation by the disruptive students.

The University of Pittsburgh has vast and sufficient resources to end the problems in our community. All of the problems in our community are a result of the same consciousness that exists at the highest levels of the University administration, an administration that continues to ALLOW these problems to exist.

Our grassroots movement began in March 2007 by focusing mainly on the trash and litter problems in our community. The photos shown below are images of the “home” community of Pitt and UPMC. What you see is only a small sampling of the hundreds of photos that have been taken since 2007. None of these photos was taken on a trash pickup day. The trash and litter problems are daily problems. The trash that is shown near houses, in some of the photos, soon gets scattered, and becomes litter on the sidewalks and streets of our community. This is in addition to the all too common litter of fast food packaging, loose papers, beer cans, etc. thrown onto our sidewalks and streets.

These problems have existed since the time when President and CEO of UPMC, Mr. Jeffrey Romoff, took office in 1992 and every year it grows worse. The photo at the top of this page was taken on the residential street where Mr. Romoff had his headquarters until 2008, when he moved to downtown Pittsburgh.

Chancellor Mark Nordenberg of the University of Pittsburgh took office in 1996. All of the photos below are within a ½ square mile area of the university. They are a leisurely 20 minute walk from the chancellor’s office in the Cathedral of Learning building.

The university and UPMC have too often blamed landlords, community residents and the city government of Pittsburgh itself for these trash and litter problems. In October 2008, during a meeting at a city councilman’s office, a Pitt administrator was asked if the university could assist with funding to help end the litter problem. His response was: “The litter problem is not the responsibility of the university”; he further stated that our community should start a Neighborhood Improvement District, which would, in part, require elderly long-time residents to be assessed a fee to end a problem that is caused mainly by university students.

At another meeting with Pitt faculty members, two questions were put to them: “How many elderly long-time residents will die before the problems of trash and litter in our community will end? Does anyone care?” There was no response.

The same lack of care and concern has been demonstrated by some of the students themselves. When one Pitt student was asked “Why do you live under such filthy conditions, his reply was simply: “I’m lazy and I don’t care.”

In the photos below you will also see evidence of burned sofas. Some students at Pitt adopted a horrific tradition started by students at West Virginia University who began to burn sofas in public to “celebrate” their football team’s victories over the Pitt football team. Prior to the 2007 game between WVU and Pitt, WVU’s chancellor announced that any students involved in such activity would be expelled from the university. To the best of our knowledge, no such warning was ever issued by the Pitt chancellor to Pitt students. It goes without saying that such activities can have fatal consequences not only for the students themselves, but also for other members of our community. Sofas were burned throughout South Oakland when the Pitt football team beat the University of West Virginia team in the fall of 2007; when the Pitt basketball team won the Big East Conference in 2008; when the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series in 2008; and when Barack Obama won the presidential election in November of 2008.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009, the problems escalated. “Students in Oakland were prolific with matches” was a quote from an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Fires were started on at least five residential streets in the area. A car was set on fire and several cars were overturned on one street. A long-time resident woman courageously confronted students wanting to burn a couch in the driveway of her home. The students carried the couch farther down the street and burned it there. For the first time, a fire was started near the chancellor’s residence in North Oakland. In addition, fires were set on the main business street fronting the Cathedral of Learning building with windows broken at four business establishments, a bus shelter was trashed, damage was done to the school’s library and a dumpster was burned outside Pitt’s student union building. The failure of the chancellor and his administration to stop the burning of couches by students in our neighborhood resulted in the Pittsburgh City Council having to pass a law banning indoor sofas from being placed on outdoor porches.

You will also see photos which show that the garbage in outdoor dumpsters has been burned. For far too many years, on the Friday before final exams week for the spring semester at the University of Pittsburgh, some students have actually “taken over” one neighborhood street, having been denied city permission to hold outdoor parties on that street. What has resulted has been a series of drunken parties known as SempleFest. In one year, students blocked Semple Street at both ends with burned dumpsters, preventing residents from entering or exiting the street in their cars. Residents were terrified; there were 68 arrests of participants involving students and non-students. Among these offenders were 18 verified Pitt students, none of whom was expelled for participating in this illegal “fest.”

When a university does not take strong action to safeguard against such threats to the peace and tranquility of the community which it shares with residents, the results can be more than disconcerting; they can be downright humiliating, as witnessed in one student’s comment to a long-time resident who had complained about a particularly noisy and boisterous party going on by students until the early morning hours; the student remarked to the long-time resident: “This neighborhood doesn’t belong to you. This is our neighborhood.”

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(Note: To illustrate the continual problems of litter and trash in the "home" community of the University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the photo at the top of this page was taken on December 24, 2007, and the three photos above were taken on October 14, 2012.)
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