Breaking News: Community outcries at Northeastern

Breaking News: Community outcries at Northeastern

By Marc Larocque

A group of community members joined with a Boston city councilor to protest outside Columbus Place Monday morning in response to what they say is Northeastern’s “illegal, unethical and unjust” development practices.

City Councilor Chuck Turner and the group consisting of about two dozen adults and children, contends that Northeastern has encroached into Roxbury without offering benefits to the community. Turner said the university has practiced discrimination in its hiring practice for contractors who are working on the Parcel 18 project, a 20-story, 1,200-bed dormitory being built on a section of land next to Ruggles station.

Turner, who is in an election year for his Roxbury district seat, said the university “broke their agreement,” an obligation under Boston Redevelopment Authority regulation and state law that requires hiring a 30-percent ratio of minorities and females for projects with such magnitude.

“We have to have some protection from Northeastern,” he said. “There is no reason we should allow them to take us over. There was a black community here before Northeastern, and if we have anything to do with it, there still will be.”

Along with enforcing obligatory community benefits, Turner and the Roxbury group believe Northeastern should commit to a moratorium on building, buying, leasing, or renting in community for 25 years.

At 11 a.m., several Northeastern administrators, including John McCarthy, senior vice president of administration and finance, emerged from the building and addressed the protesters, who questioned whether local residents were working on the project.

After a brief discussion turned to shouting by some residents, McCarthy returned inside the building. Northeastern police officers blocked the doors and protesters began to intensify their efforts, shouting into megaphones and mocking attempts to enter the building by out-of-town workers and students. An hour later, administrators conceded to the uproar and returned outside to schedule a meeting with the group, which took place in a conference room on the lower floor of the Badger and Rosen Squashbusters facility.

A member of The News staff who was invited by the Lower Roxbury Residents Leadership Group was escorted out of the meeting by Northeastern security. A community liaison from Mayor Thomas Menino’s office was also removed.

Check out The News next week for the latest updates on this issue.

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